US Fishery Management Councils

MA - Fish councils prepare for climate change

The New England Fishery Management Council is joining other East Coast marine management councils to plan for a future marked by the continuing detrimental impacts of climate change.

The project, called East Coast Climate Change Scenario Planning, is a response to the accelerating and debilitating impacts on fish stocks and marine habitats caused by the effects of climate change.

“No one knows for sure what the future holds, but a continuation or acceleration of climate change has the potential to strain our existing fishery management system and alter the way fishermen, scientists, and the public interact with the marine environment,” the NFMC stated. “Scenario planning is a way of exploring how fishery management may need to evolve over the next few decades as climate change becomes a bigger issue.”

The other organizations participating in the initiative are the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, NOAA Fisheries’ Gloucester-based Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

The Northeast Regional Coordinating Council, which consists of leadership from the MAFMC, NEFMC, ASMFC, GARFO, and NEFSC, will be the primary decision-making body for the initiative, with the addition of South Atlantic representatives.

“Over the next year, scenario planning organizations, guided by the Northeast Region Coordinating Council, will be bringing together fishery participants, fishery managers, researchers, and other stakeholders to discuss climate change issues,” the council stated. “The intent is to emerge with ideas and recommendations for how fishery management can adapt to climate change.”

The council stressed that the initiative is part of the long game to prepare fishery managers for all eventualities and possibilities.

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