Federal fisheries officials will work with coastal states including Rhode Island over the next year to ease the impact of climate change on marine resources. The fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has outlined a new strategy, which will guide regional action plans it will finalize by the end of 2016.
Marine and coastal regions along the East Coast have seen dramatic climate-related changes, according to Roger Griffis, climate change coordinator for NOAA Fisheries. He said the warming ocean temperature along the Atlantic Coast is one notable example.
“Over the past 40 years or so, the distribution of many of the near shore fish species and some of the commercial fish species more offshore has shifted dramatically northward as the ocean has warmed,” said Griffis.
Regional science centers will work with stakeholders, including fishermen, to finalize regional action plans for responding to climate-related threats.
“Fishermen are the eyes and ears on the ocean,” said Griffis. “They are out there seeing these changes in real time. So the strategy puts a big emphasis on working more with fishermen, fishing communities, to better understand the changes and prepare for those changes.”
Griffis said the plans will include more robust plans to protect and recover species, as well as efforts to improve forecasts and provide early warnings as changes happen.
Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we’d like to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.