Briefing on Capitol Hill

Malin talked about climate change, fish, and fisheries to Congressional staffers, federal employees, and others at a briefing on Capital Hill this past Tuesday (6/28). COMPASS organized the event, with more details here.US_Capitol_from_NW

Climate change, wealth, and a fishy example

IMGP0176With a great set of co-authors, including Eli Fenichel at Yale, we just published a paper in Nature Climate Change showing how to measure the impacts of climate change on wealth. Our previous work, including this, has shown how climate pushes natural resources around. In this new paper, we show that those movements change who gets access to resources, and how those movements affect wealth. As important, or even more important, than the quantity of resources, however, is the quality of a region’s resource management, existing institutions, and fishing regulations. Places with strong resource management stand to gain the most from climate-driven changes in resource distribution.

To make these points, we use a hypothetical example with two fishing ports.

This is one of the initial publications from our NSF Coastal SEES grant examining the impacts of climate change on fish and fisheries.

The paper is getting a bit of press as well:

Climate change and lobster on NPR

EarthWiseLogo1EarthWise, a 2-minute NPR science show, just ran a piece on climate change and lobster that featured Malin. It’s well-done, though they made a big deal about lobster moving into Canada. This sounds more dire than some research would suggest: Fogarty et al. 2007 project that Maine waters will still be good for lobster at the end of the current century. On the other hand, Vince Saba is looking at climate models that suggest much more rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine than we had previously thought, so maybe it’s not so far-fetched…

Breeding like rabbits doesn’t work for fish

Fast-growing fish like these sardines are more sensitive to excessive harvest than other, slower-growing species, contrary to common patterns on land. Photo credit: John Loo (CC BY 2.0).

We have a new paper out in Proceedings B, “Fishing, fast growth and climate variability increase the risk of collapse.” Analyzing data from fisheries around the world, we show that patterns in the ocean are nearly the opposite of those on land. Slow-growing species like lions and tigers may be most at risk of extinction on land, but in the ocean, it’s the “rabbits” that are most sensitive. We find that fast-growing species like flounder and sardines are more than three times more likely to collapse when they experience overfishing than their slower-growing cousins. Populations that experience strong climate variability are also more at risk.

Tim Essington also had a nice paper exploring some of these patterns among small pelagic species earlier this year. Definitely worth a read, plus the following discussion (here and here).

Some of the coverage: