Fishing and climate change: two of the largest human impacts on the ocean. But how do they interact? In a new paper just out in Ecosphere, Emma Fuller, Eleanor Brush, and I use an ecological model to build some intuition. We looked specifically at how fishing affects the ability of species to shift their distributions fast enough to keep up with climate velocity. Two main take-home messages:
- Fishing the leading edge of a species range has the biggest impact (this also tends to be where fishing is unregulated….)
- Marine protected areas (MPAs) can actually make it harder for species to keep up with climate if the MPAs concentrate fishing effort in narrower areas.
EarthWise, 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…
We host a monthly seminar series on climate and fish, which call “Fish Baste,” designed to increase dialogue and collaboration among members of Rutgers, Princeton, U. Maine, and NOAA, as well as among researchers in ecology, social science, and climate science. Format is a short, informal talk, followed by discussion, and meetings are open to anyone.
New schedule for the year is filling up, and it looks great!
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.
Some of the coverage:
Jim Morley started work back in early January, but as of last week, has joined us at Rutgers. He previously finished a Ph.D. with Jeff Buckel at NC State working on bluefish, and his interests include climate change, food webs, and fisheries. He’ll be working on a research project with the Pew Charitable Trusts and the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council to understand whether climate variability is influencing food webs in the southeast U.S. We’re excited to have Jim join us!
- Ryan gave at talk at the ASLO meeting on February 25 in Grenada, Spain, “Long-term changes in North American coastal communities.”
- Malin presented a poster at the Kavli Frontiers of Science meeting in Jerusalem on February 24.
- Jim talked on a panel affiliated with the March SAFMC meeting about our new project on Southeast Atlantic climate impact on fish.
- Malin’s off to Brazil to give two talks at the Effects of Climate Change on the World’s Oceans conference (March 22 and 25).
Every wondered where you favorite fish is? In collaboration with NOAA Fisheries, we’ve launched a new website today called OceanAdapt that provides information on climate related changes in the distribution of the nation’s valuable marine fish stocks. There is growing concern that more needs to be done to prepare for and adapt to these changing conditions, but much of the basic information on what’s happening out in the ocean has historically been scarce and hard to find. For scientists, the website also provides easy access to the NOAA bottom trawl survey data.
The indicators on the website are also slated to be part of the National Climate Indicators System, which is designed help track climate impacts across the U.S.
Our plans to head out fishing for fluke (inspired by our fluke genetics project) were dead in the water when the party boat stayed in port for repairs. Instead, we went out fishing for bluefish. A good 4-6′ swell, but a great time on the water. Jennifer caught the first two, and Ryan caught the most (3). Turns out that the adrenaline of reeling one in is a good cure for seasickness. And they were delicious grilled that evening… More photos here.
The news about the Coastal SEES awards is now official: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_