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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 648:1-17 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13438

FEATURE ARTICLE
Climate-change impacts and fisheries management challenges in the North Atlantic Ocean

Andrea Bryndum-Buchholz1,*, Daniel G. Boyce1,2, Derek P. Tittensor1, Villy Christensen3, Daniele Bianchi4, Heike K. Lotze1

1Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
2Ocean Frontier Institute, Steele Ocean Sciences Building, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS B3H 4R2, Canada
3Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
4Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1565, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Climate-induced changes in the world’s oceans will have implications for fisheries productivity and management. Using a model ensemble from the Fisheries and Marine Ecosystem Model Intercomparison Project (Fish-MIP), we analyzed future trajectories of climate-change impacts on marine animal biomass and associated environmental drivers across the North Atlantic Ocean and within the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) convention area and evaluated potential consequences for fisheries productivity and management. Our ensemble results showed that the magnitude of projected biomass changes increased over time and from a low (RCP2.6) to high (RCP8.5) emissions scenario. Within individual NAFO divisions, however, projected biomass changes differed in the magnitude and sometimes direction of change between near (the 2030s) and far future (the 2090s) and contrasting emissions scenarios. By the 2090s, most NAFO divisions with historically (1990-1999) high fisheries landings were projected to experience biomass decreases of 5-40%, while Arctic and subarctic divisions with lower historical landings were projected to experience biomass increases between 20 and 70% under RCP8.5. Future trajectories of sea surface temperature and primary production corroborated that the far-future, high-emissions scenario poses the greatest risk to marine ecosystems and the greatest challenges to fisheries management. Our study summarizes future trends of marine animal biomass and underlying uncertainties related to model projections under contrasting climate-change scenarios. Understanding such climate-change impacts on marine ecosystems is imperative for ensuring that marine fisheries remain productive and sustainable in a changing ocean.


KEY WORDS: Climate change · Animal biomass · Fisheries management · NAFO convention area · Ensemble modeling · Emissions scenarios · Marine ecosystem model · Fish-MIP


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Cite this article as: Bryndum-Buchholz A, Boyce DG, Tittensor DP, Christensen V, Bianchi D, Lotze HK (2020) Climate-change impacts and fisheries management challenges in the North Atlantic Ocean. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 648:1-17. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13438

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