Climate-Informed Fisheries Management Initiative

This initiative would build on the CCI by developing and implementing strategies to improve the responsiveness of fisheries management to climate variability and change, and is intended to set the stage for consideration of climate-informed fisheries management actions. The Council would use a collaborative process that includes IEA scientists, stock assessment scientists, and FMP Management Teams and Subpanels to: (a) evaluate existing indicators and refine or develop climate and ecosystem indicators to inform scientific uncertainty when setting harvest policies; (b) assess and understand the resilience of West Coast fishing communities to climate change and explore and consider management strategies to improve resilience; and (c) explore and develop mechanisms to incorporate nimbleness or increased responsiveness into fisheries management to enhance the capacity of individuals or communities to adapt to climate. Implementation of these three action areas will occur in multiple phases, described below. Execution of the initiative will be mindful of transboundary coordination needs, addressing safety issues, and inclusion of co-managers and stakeholders in the process with the intent of making significant progress within four years from the Council’s initial adoption of the initiative.  This initiative would address FEP Objectives 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3c, 6a, 6b, and 6c.

To implement the three action areas of this initiative, the Council would:

  1. Develop climate and ecosystem indicators to inform fishery management decisions at the FMP level, which may be stock-specific – Ecosystem and climate reporting developed through this initiative could occur with and/or in addition to the annual ESR, tailored to support management under particular FMPs. Reporting could build on examples from the ESR, such as the salmon-focused stoplight charts, but the applications would be developed through FMP-specific processes. This initiative could result in development of FMP-specific indicator reports (similar to automated landings reports from the Pacific Fisheries Information Network) that inform assessment models and further understanding of the dynamics of marine species and the ecosystem. Information should be available during harvest-setting processes for proactive management.
  2. Evaluate the resilience of West Coast fishing communities to climate change – Using social indicators mapping techniques, fish stock climate vulnerability assessments (existing, and as they become available), identify which coastal communities and fish stocks are most vulnerable to climate change. Prioritize communities and stocks for initial focus, ensuring that we look at multiple stocks across FMPs. Develop pilot portfolios of ecosystem/climate indicators for each prioritized stock for each community and review those through the Council’s FMP-specific advisory bodies.  Work with FMP-specific advisory bodies to develop an automated ecosystem/climate indicators reporting system that provides management-targeted information for specific communities and stocks with schedules and formats useful to fisheries managers.    
  3. Explore mechanisms to incorporate nimbleness or increase responsiveness into fisheries management – Using the results of the CCI workshops, draft Council-specific standards for fisheries and fishing community resilience and assess Council-managed fisheries against those standards.  Build on ideas from the CCI workshops and from action areas (a) and (b) to draft FMP-specific recommendations for revising fisheries management processes and regulations to improve responsiveness to climate variability and change.