EDF Oceans Europe

Building resilience to climate change in North East Atlantic fisheries

(This is a summary of The EDF Climate Briefing Note)

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recognise that species’ shifts are occurring not just in Europe, but globally and are therefore working with key fisheries in Asia, South America and Europe to ensure robust fisheries systems are in place to address climate change impacts, including shifts in species’ range and distribution. The International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES) recently documented 16 of 21 key commercial species displaying significant changes in distribution, including a dominant northward shift under changing environmental conditions.

A complicated picture

EDF identified a number of factors converging in the North-East Atlantic region, creating new and complex challenges for fishery managers, scientists and industry. They set out to understand these challenges further through a two-day workshop that aimed to identify climate change effects on fisheries in the region, as well as highlight possible tools and approaches to move forward. Three key takeaways include:

  1. Fish stocks are shifting rapidly affecting the range, distribution, abundance and Productivity of key Commercial species
  2. Re-invigorated regional fisheries institutions can help to lead change
  3. We can achieve adaptive, flexible fisheries management and governance using Tools and approachesalready to hand

These headline takeaways are extracted from a more detailed EDF report entitled Climate-related impacts on fisheries management and governance in the North-East Atlantic. This publication was further supported by an EDF-commissioned report entitled Building Resilience in Fisheries Governance in the North East Atlantic.

EDF is one of the world’s largest environmental organisations that believe prosperity and environmental stewardship must go hand in hand, achieving results by finding solutions that benefit people while protecting natural systems.

For more information on EDF Europe’s climate and fisheries work, contact Erin Priddle, North East Atlantic Fisheries Manager on Epriddle@edf.org or +44 (0)203 310 5919.