Fisheries governance in the face of climate change: Assessment of policy reform implications for Mexican fisheries
Climate change is driving shifts in the abundance and distribution of marine fish and invertebrates and is having direct and indirect impacts on seafood catches and fishing communities, exacerbating the already negative effects of unsustainably high fishing pressure that exist for some stocks. Although the majority of fisheries in the world are managed at the national or local scale, most existing approaches to assessing climate impacts on fisheries have been developed on a global scale. It is often difficult to translate from the global to regional and local settings because of limited relevant data. To address the need for fisheries management entities to identify those fisheries with the greatest potential for climate change impacts, we present an approach for estimating expected climate change-driven impacts on the productivity and spatial range of fisheries at the regional scale in a data-poor context. We use a set of representative Mexican fisheries as test cases. To assess the implications of climate impacts, we compare biomass, harvest, and profit outcomes from a bioeconomic model under contrasting management policies and with and without climate change. Overall results show that climate change is estimated to negatively affect nearly every fishery in our study. However, the results indicate that overfishing is a greater threat than climate change for these fisheries, hence fixing current management challenges has a greater upside than the projected future costs of moderate levels of climate change. Additionally, this study provides meaningful first approximations of potential effects of both climate change and management reform in Mexican fisheries. Using the climate impact estimations and model outputs, we identify high priority stocks, fleets, and regions for policy reform in Mexico in the face of climate change. This approach can be applied in other data-poor circumstances to focus future research and policy reform efforts on stocks now subject to additional stress due to climate change. Considering their growing relevance as a critical source of protein and micronutrients to nourish our growing population, it is urgent for regions to develop sound fishery management policies in the short-term as they are the most important intervention to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change on marine fisheries.