Climate vulnerability and adaptation in Northeast U. S. fishing communities: from ecosystem change to socio-economic impacts



Katherine E. Mills, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Bradley Franklin, Gulf of Maine Research Institute




Fishing provides essential jobs, income, and food to many communities in the Northeast United States. Climate change is expected to disrupt fishing patterns and affect target species, fishing locations, fleet structure, and social and cultural traditions.  Vulnerability assessments provide insights into how risks vary among communities based on changes in species availability, nature of resource dependence, and levels of adaptive capacity.  Understanding vulnerability of both marine resource populations and fishing communities is a critical first step towards planning for and adapting to impacts of climate change on fisheries.  Economic models can provide additional information about how changing species availability will impact jobs, revenue, and fleet structure as well as revenue in related industries.  Together, vulnerability frameworks and economic models can also be used to evaluate how well different adaptation strategies buffer climate impacts.  This presentation will discuss implementation of a coupled social-ecological vulnerability assessment for Northeast fishing communities and more focused work to estimate socio-economic impacts and adaptation benefits in four communities in the region.  Ultimately, our goal is to use this information to help communities plan adaptation pathways to respond to climate-associated changes in species availability and to identify management and policy measures that may advance adaptation.