14 December 2018

Learning how Commonwealth fisheries can adapt to the effects of climate change is an important priority for the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and its key stakeholder groups.

AFMA recently held a climate change adaptation workshop that was attended by a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • Members of the commercial, recreational and Indigenous fishing sectors,
  • Scientists from Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America and Canada,
  • Representatives from Australian state fisheries departments,
  • The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources,
  • The Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC),
  • The Department of Environment and Energy, and
  • Environmental non-government organisations (eNGOs).

Participants from each sector spoke about the challenges and opportunities for growth that climate change presents to their area of interest in Commonwealth fisheries. The consensus was that climate change is undeniably happening, and that the next step is to work out how to adapt to it, to ensure there is a sustainable and economically viable fishing industry into the future.

Participants were asked to consider how climate change effects might directly or indirectly interact with a fishery – a process called an impact pathway. For instance, some groups examined how fisheries could be affected by changes to sea temperature. The impact pathway explored the flow-on effects from temperature changes, such as fish stocks moving and the need for a fishery to adjust by either moving with them or switching to other species.

The impact pathways developed at the workshop are contributing to creating a risk assessment framework that can be applied to Commonwealth fisheries in relation to the effects of climate change.

The risk assessment framework is the focus of an FRDC funded project jointly run by AFMA and CSIRO with collaborators from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and others. The project is evaluating the likely impacts of climate change on fish stocks and the fishing industry.

Read more about AFMA’s climate change adaptation projects at afma.gov.au.

Read the outline for the FRDC funded project, Adaptation of Commonwealth Fisheries Management to Climate Change (FRDC 2016-059), at frdc.com.au