Shifting MPAs for conservation and fisheries under a changing climate

Event Date: 
Tuesday, March 23 at 1pm US EDT / 10am US PDT / 5pm UTC

Presented by: Talya ten Brink of NOAA, Tu Nguyen of Ocean Nexus Center, Anne Mook of Nazarbayev University, Sarah Roberts of Duke University, and Juliano Palacios-Abrantes of University of British Columbia

Marine species are shifting their distribution towards colder waters because of climate change, potentially compromising the benefits and management objectives of currently established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Therefore, it remains unclear what the long-term effectiveness of MPAs for conservation, fisheries, and reliant communities is under a changing climate. The team developed six MPA designs of equal size in an Ecopath with Ecosim model: four static MPAs (Square, Narrow Vertical, Narrow Horizontal, and Network) which stayed in place and two dynamic MPA designs (Square Shifting and Network Shifting) which moved 20 km poleward every 20 years to take into account the shifting nature of marine species affected by climate change. The model differentiated between the Static Horizontal and Static Vertical MPAs because of the expectation that vertically oriented MPAs will be more likely to benefit marine species as they shift poleward due to climate change. The Square Shifting MPA outperformed the Square Static MPA on all aggregate measures and outperformed all MPA orientations in terms of revenue. However, the results suggest that there is no one optimal solution in the face of climate change, and different MPA designs could potentially bring about regional benefits in terms of increased amount of fish and catch. The webinar will discuss our findings, including revenue, biomass, fisheries, and species-specific results.

Co-sponsors: NOAA National MPA Center and OCTO (MPA News, OpenChannels, EBM Tools Network)