Climate and fisheries: interacting paradigms, scales, and policy approaches ; the IRI-IPRC Pacific Climate-Fisheries Workshop, Honolulu, 14 - 17 November, 2001

Bakun, A.; Broad, K.

An international workshop on research issues related to interactions between climate varia-tions and fisheries was held at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu from November 14th to 17th, 2001. Forty-eight invited participants represented a sampling of top-tier international scientific expertise with respect to climatic effects on fishery resource populations, fishing operations, and fishery-related socioeconomic issues. An unusual aspect was the interaction of physical, biological, and social scientists at all levels of the discussions. No prepared papers were delivered. Rather, the intended focus was on interdisciplinary and interregional “cross-education” and cross-sharing of insights and ideas among scientists with experience ranging
over a variety of species and industry types, intended
to support a collaborative process of:

• identifying alternative conceptual frameworks and ideas that may better support fruitful interdisciplinary collaborations (particularly between climate scientists and fishery scientists
of both the “ecological/biological” and “social science” types);
• exploring associated implications for innovative fisheries management approaches;
• considering potential applications of the comparative method as a means for effective multilateral research on climate/ecosystems/fisheries issues in the Pacific basin;
• exploring in this regard the potential utility of certain newly available technologies and methodologies.

The discussions both in plenary sessions as wellas in various separate “focus group” sessions were wide ranging and animated. General consensus emerged on a variety of issues. It was widely agreed, for example, that: (1) as our available records of data and experience grow longer, the observations are not adding up to picture that conforms to conventional scenarios. Effects of environmental variability on fish stocks and fisheries can no longer be ignored, but we remain stuck in a paradigm that has existed for half a century and that is not solving the problem in any general way; (2) we need to move away from focusing so much of our available effort on identifying particular specific relationships and on producing empirical models fitted to specific sets of data, but rather to undertake efforts at more general synthesis that can generate testable general hypotheses (i.e., we need to search for mechanisms and processes, not correlations); (3) climate forecasts (e.g., ENSO forecasts, etc.) do have significant potential value for the fisheries sector, but the information content must be relevant, communicated properly, and compatible with available decision-support models; (4)
downside risks related to reliance on a poor forecast might in many cases outweigh potential benefits; however, we should not abandon the search for means to produce good forecasts; (5) inter-decadal-scale “regime shifts”, along with associated large-scale synchronies in resource population variations and resultant socioeconomic issues, probably represent the “hottest” current set of climate-fisheries research topics. The apparent large-scale synchronies would seem to indicate a rather direct link of climatic events to resource population dynamics, which led to optimism among a significant portion of the workshop participants that major progress on the “climate to fish” portion of the problem might be possible on the near term.

On the other hand, there were also areas where broad consensus seemed to be lacking. For example, some participants were quite excited about the potential role of rapidly-evolving adaptive response mechanisms, but there was a general level of concern over a lack of clear evidence for their actual operation and significance in real ocean ecosystems. Likewise,certain participants advocated the idea of a comprehensive collaborative global empirical (statistical) study of available time series of relevant data, but there were questions as to exactly how and by which groups such a grandiose multilateral “desk study” of historical data would be conducted.


  • thumnail for iri-cw021-climate-and-fisheries-interacting-paradigms-scales-and-policy-approaches-the-iri-iprc-pacific-climate-fisheries-workshop-14-17-november-2001.pdf iri-cw021-climate-and-fisheries-interacting-paradigms-scales-and-policy-approaches-the-iri-iprc-pacific-climate-fisheries-workshop-14-17-november-2001.pdf application/pdf 1.15 MB Download File

Also Published In

IRI Workshop Proceedings
International Research Institute for Climate and Society

More About This Work

Academic Units
International Research Institute for Climate and Society
Published Here
March 13, 2024

Related Items

Identical to: