Species redistribution creates unequal outcomes for multispecies fisheries under projected climate change

Publication date
August 18, 2023
Owen R. Liu, Eric J. Ward, Sean C. Anderson, Kelly S. Andrews, Lewis A. K. Barnett, Stephanie Brodie, Gemma Carroll, Jerome Fiechter, Melissa A. Haltuch, Chris J. Harvey, Elliott L. Hazen, Pierre-Yves Hernvann, Michael Jacox, Isaac C. Kaplan, Sean Matson, Karma Norman, Mercedes Pozo Buil, Rebecca L. Selden, Andrew Shelton, Jameal F. Samhouri

Climate change drives species distribution shifts, affecting the availability of resources people rely upon for food and livelihoods. These impacts are complex, manifest at local scales, and have diverse effects across multiple species. However, for wild capture fisheries, current understanding is dominated by predictions for individual species at coarse spatial scales. We show that species-specific responses to localized environmental changes will alter the collection of co-occurring species within established fishing footprints along the U.S. West Coast. We demonstrate that availability of the most economically valuable, primary target species is highly likely to decline coastwide in response to warming and reduced oxygen concentrations, while availability of the most abundant, secondary target species will potentially increase. A spatial reshuffling of primary and secondary target species suggests regionally heterogeneous opportunities for fishers to adapt by changing where or what they fish. Developing foresight into the collective responses of species at local scales will enable more effective and tangible adaptation pathways for fishing communities.

Science Advances
California Current