Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New York Project

Strategies for climate-ready fishing communities: optimal fishing portfolios for changing ocean ecosystems

February 2020 - February 2023


Participating Agencies

  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Cornell Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future

Climate change is advancing rapidly, particularly in high latitude oceans leading to shifting marine species distributions, and impacting fish population productivity and variability. As a result, fishing communities face increasing threats to local economies and cultural heritage as they bear risk of losing fishing access under changing marine ecosystems. in this collaboration with USGS, Cornell University, The Nature Conservancy, Alaska Pacific University, and fishing stakeholders, we seek to address a key sustainability challenge for fisheries-reliant communities: How can communities maintain access to commercial fishing resources in the face of climate-driven ocean changes? Using AK fisheries as a focal system, we are quantifying the degree of climate risk facing fishing communities, identifying optimal community fishing rights portfolio that are robust to climate-driven fishery changes, and advancing efforts to operationalize climate-robust fishing portfolios through innovative finance opportunities to support fishing community climate adaptation strategies. To achieve our project goals, we have assembled a cutting-edge interdisciplinary team, integrating across marine ecology, fisheries management, finance, and computer science experts.