Fisheries Management under Global Warming

Effects of climate change on fisheries in the arctic region of the Nordic countries

Project background

The project idea is to initiate a process in the Nordic community of fisheries scientists in order to identify and prepare a common Nordic initiative on a larger interdisciplinary research programme addressing fisheries management in the Arctic under climatic change. The basis for the work will be the fisheries chapter of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA 2005), where a number of climate-related challenges to the fisheries sector where identified, including changes in migration patterns and in-migration of new species from southern latitudes. A prominent finding in the ACIA report was the need to ensure that resource management regimes are robust and well-functioning. 

Since the completion of ACIA - where the data for the fisheries chapter are from 2001-2002 - a vast amount of new data has been collected, new methods developed, and new scenarios and analyses performed. Several IPCC reports have been issued and more will come in the near future. In short: the status of science in the realm of  fisheries and climate as progressed substantially and the conclusions in the ACIA report needs to be updated in light of this.

The project takes advantage of the relation to a larger scientific community through the participant’s involvement in other reserach:


The overall objective for the project is to enhance our understanding on how climate change is likely to affect fisheries, and also bring us further into an understanding of potential mitigation and adaptation strategies and measures. Further the objective is to update data, methods and analyses of the fisheries chapter of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

Target groups

The Nordic marine research community, including researchers, research administrators and policy-makers stand to gain from the project. An updated ACIA-report will also enhance public debate, and provide a better background for politicians and planners.

(Source: NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory -


To achieve the objective two workshops will be held to identify areas for work, define work packages and generally develop a detailed project plan. The initial phase may potentially contribute to the development of larger fully-fledged project.

The first workshop will take place in Tromsø, March/April 2009, and a second workshop in the end of 2009. An interactive web site will be established for the project, allowing the project participants to share ideas and carry out discussion in between of the workshops.

Two workshops will focus on understanding the drivers of climate change in this context and the impacts on fisheries and mitigation and adaptation, respectively. The first workshop will therefore address:
  • Current physical and ecological environmental situation and existing management systems in the North-Atlantic and the Arctic.
  • The fisheries chapters in the ACIA-report, shortcomings and needs of updating.
  • The new scenarios of the IPCC.
  • Natural variations vs fluctuations caused by global warming.
The second workshop will turn attention to impacts of change and strategies for mitigation and adaptation. Harvest control rules, including precautionary approach and ecosystem based management in the light of climatic change are central to this. The last workshop will also develop a full project proposal for the next years on the basis of project achievements. This proposal may target other funders, as national research councils or other European programmes.

The project includes scientists from a number of scientific disciplines with experience from the entire North Atlantic region, particularly emphasising the Nordic region, but the project also benefits greatly from inputs from Russian and North American scientists.