Climate shock effects and mediation in fisheries
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Climate shock effects and mediation in fisheries

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  • Journal Title:
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Description:
    Climate shocks are increasingly disruptive to global food systems, with far-reaching consequences for resource-based communities. Yet quantitative assessments of community impacts rarely account for economic connectivity between alternative resources. We show that patterns of resource use influence the sensitivity of US West Coast fishing communities to unprecedented fishery closures in the wake of a recent climate shock. Patterns of participation in commercial fisheries were significantly altered during the fishery closures, but rebounded to preexisting states after closures were lifted, indicating community-level resilience to this particular perturbation. Our study provides evidence that more complex networks of resource use buffer the impact of climate shocks, and reveals strategies that alter emergent patterns of resource use in affected fishing communities.Climate shocks can reorganize the social–ecological linkages in food-producing communities, leading to a sudden loss of key products in food systems. The extent and persistence of this reorganization are difficult to observe and summarize, but are critical aspects of predicting and rapidly assessing community vulnerability to extreme events. We apply network analysis to evaluate the impact of a climate shock—an unprecedented marine heatwave—on patterns of resource use in California fishing communities, which were severely affected through closures of the Dungeness crab fishery. The climate shock significantly modified flows of users between fishery resources during the closures. These modifications were predicted by pre-shock patterns of resource use and were associated with three strategies used by fishing community member vessels to respond to the closures: temporary exit from the food system, spillover of effort from the Dungeness crab fishery into other fisheries, and spatial shifts in where crab were landed. Regional differences in resource use patterns and vessel-level responses highlighted the Dungeness crab fishery as a seasonal “gilded trap” for northern California fishing communities. We also detected disparities in climate shock response based on vessel size, with larger vessels more likely to display spatial mobility. Our study demonstrates the importance of highly connected and decentralized networks of resource use in reducing the vulnerability of human communities to climate shocks.Confidential vessel-level landings and registration data may be acquired by direct request from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, subject to a nondisclosure agreement. Aggregated, nonconfidential data to construct network graphs, network metrics data used as input for the generalized linear models, and R code are available on GitHub (DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.4177949).
  • Source:
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(2)
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