The shifting distribution of marine species is one of the most visible impacts of climate change on the world’s oceans. Scientists, fishermen and others on the East and West Coasts of the United States have observed range shifts that have disrupted species ecology, fishing patterns and management strategies. In every region of the United States, fish populations are projected to shift further as ocean temperatures continue to warm.
This fall, the Lenfest Ocean Program, in collaboration with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Biodiversity Funder’s Group, will host a three-day Ideas Lab workshop to convene scientists, managers, stakeholders, and funders for a collaborative discussion about the future of fisheries in the face of climate change. An Ideas Lab is an intensive meeting that brings together multiple diverse perspectives to focus on finding innovative cross-disciplinary solutions to a critical problem. The workshop, which will take place from October 21-23, 2019, in Washington, DC, will aim to generate research priorities and kickstart the funding of key research projects. The meeting will be primarily focused on the continental United States.
While fisheries participants are accustomed to variable and uncertain conditions on the water, existing fisheries management is determined by historical patterns of species distributions and does not account for future projections or predictions. For example, the current management framework assumes that if a species has historically been found off the coast of North Carolina, that is will be where it is found in the future. This mismatch affects every segment of the socio-ecological system: how fishermen are allocated catch; where shore-based infrastructure is located; how fisheries are managed; and how coastal communities and economies survive. These impacts are already affecting communities, lives, and livelihoods and have not gone unnoticed by fisheries managers. For over five years, there have been concerted efforts to discuss adaptation strategies. Thoughtfully focused research priorities can help accelerate progress to address this increasingly urgent challenge.
During the summer of 2019, the Lenfest Ocean Program held an open call for participants to attend October’s Ideas Lab designed to generate priority research questions for funding consideration. The application period closed on August 22, 2019.
Stay tuned for updates regarding the outcomes of this exciting initiative! To ensure you’re hearing the latest, consider signing up for the Lenfest monthly newsletter.
The Lenfest Ocean Program’s (LOP) philosophy is to invest in developing new scientific information only if it has a high likelihood of being used by stakeholders and resource management agencies at the center of an issue. More information about the Lenfest Ocean Program can be found here.