Increasing Resilience of Fishing Communities in a Changing Climate

Warming oceans, rising seas and increasing ocean acidification are already impacting the distribution and abundance of marine species, and the many people, businesses and communities that depend on them. In early May, 40 scientists and stakeholders from around the country came together for a common goal – to increase the resilience of fishing communities in a changing climate. At a workshop co-sponsored by NOAA Fisheries and NOAA Sea Grant, the group sought to identify the information and tools needed over the next five years to help fishing communities better understand, prepare for, and respond to climate-related impacts on marine resources.

The workshop participants shared information on a variety of research, policy, and community engagement projects to help illustrate current efforts and future needs. Participants then identified needs and actions to advance the following three key areas:

  1. Monitoring and assessment of fishing community vulnerability and resilience.
  2. Understanding and forecasting climate impacts on fishing sectors and communities.
  3. Assisting fishing communities in preparing for and responding to climate-related change.

Some of the topics for further development included:

  • Gaining a better understanding of ecosystem services and the value they bring to fishing communities.
  • Projects that focus on the environmental and social aspects of local community dynamics.
  • Teaching practitioners better ways to communicate the risk associated with climate change.

This workshop builds upon work of social scientists in NOAA Fisheries, Sea Grant, academia and other institutions. NOAA Fisheries recently released its Climate Science Strategy to increase the production, delivery and use of climate-related information for fisheries management and protected species conservation. Sea Grant Programs working with fishing communities in Alaska, Maine, Michigan, and South Carolina are among the many Sea Grant efforts aimed at increasing resilience and adaptation to a changing climate. Collaborations like this workshop underpin the success of managing our fisheries and coastal economies for the future. 

The workshop findings will be summarized in a Workshop Report and used to inform possible future efforts by NOAA Fisheries, Sea Grant and other entities. 

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Alaska_harbor_ships_kayaks_Valdez_Sea Grant

Valdez, Alaska (Photo credit: NOAA Sea Grant)

Commercial fisherman

Commercial fisherman (Photo credit: NOAA)


Fishing boats at sunset (Photo credit: NOAA)