Theses Doctoral

Fisheries and Fishery Management in a Variable Climate

Oremus, Kimberly Lai

Fisheries around the world are in collapse despite decades of research and attempts to manage them. While conventional bioeconomic models of fishery depletion are well-understood, reversing these trends has proven to be a stubborn problem, even in the presence of science-based management regimes. My dissertation uses empirical tools to uncover new insights into the biophysical dynamics that may be preventing stocks from rebounding. I focus on the effects of environmental variability, which prevailing fishery management practices tend to overlook. Theoretically, variations in climate can create booms and busts in fish population that may be exacerbated if fishing practices don't adapt accordingly. To identify and quantify these linkages empirically, I draw on an understanding of climate dynamics, the biology of the stocks, and the specifics of fishing policies in the North Atlantic, where catch-size restrictions on key species lead to a lagged relationship between the climate signal and its effects on the fishery. Chapters 2 and 3 chart the impacts of climate variability on population dynamics, catch, and labor demand over time. Together they demonstrate that a failure to account for such variations is both hindering fishery management efforts and hurting fishing communities. Chapter 4 directly examines the efficacy of existing U.S. fishing policy, which is a model for fishing policies around the world. I find that while the policy is reducing catch, it has not driven the intended rebounds in biomass.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Sustainable Development
Thesis Advisors
Schlenker, Wolfram
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 17, 2017