The status of climate change adaptation in fisheries management: Policy, legislation and implementation

A Bryndum-Buchholz, DP Tittensor, H Lotze.


Climate change is altering ecosystems and fisheries throughout the world's oceans, demanding climate-adaptive governance for conserving and managing living marine resources. While in some regions fisheries management systems address wider ecosystem dynamics within management frameworks and decision-making, which may facilitate resilience to climate change, there remains a shortfall in terms of directly incorporating climate change adaptation into fisheries management legislation and implementation. This review assesses the current state of implementation of climate change adaptation into fisheries management policies and legislation across 11 national case studies, based on government documents and the primary literature. The overarching goal is to understand the key elements and gaps in existing fisheries management policies and legislation in the context of climate change. Given recent reforms of fisheries management policies and/or legislation across the nations examined, political recognition of the need to address climate change adaptation in fisheries management appears to be increasing; albeit formal mandates of climate-adaptation objectives in fisheries management are largely missing. Based on our review, recommendations for achieving climate-adaptive fisheries management regimes are developed. Overall, this study will help to inform and broaden the scope of management approaches and tools to accelerate the move towards adaptive fisheries management that accounts for climate change impacts on fish stocks, fisheries and the societies that depend upon them.