Climate change is affecting our ocean and inland ecosystems, including the fish populations that support our valuable, wild-caught fisheries. As ocean environments continue to change in uncertain ways, ocean fisheries management must evolve to ensure these marine resources remain healthy and productive for the benefit of all who depend on them now and for generations to come.
Climate change has already caused some fish populations to shift poleward to escape warming water temperatures. In addition, natural disasters, such as hurricanes, ocean heat waves, and disease outbreaks, are occurring more frequently and with greater intensity around the country. The future of fisheries management must assess how climate change might impact the health and abundance of U.S. fish populations and their habitats and adapt current policies and regulations to meet the growing challenges of the ever-changing ocean environments.
The Network is working with all of our partners to address the impacts of global climate change on U.S. fisheries and to incorporate the growing reality of climate change into proactive fisheries management planning. We are also working to update fisheries management to better implement emergency actions for necessary in-season adjustments in response to unpredicted environmental events. Together we can evolve U.S. ocean policy to better meet the future challenges ahead and manage fisheries that are more resilient to the volatile conditions caused by a changing climate.