El Nemo South East: Quantitative testing of fisheries management arrangements under climate change using Atlantis
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart
The south-eastern waters of Australia are predicted to be the most vulnerable area to global change, due to changes in East Australian, Leeuwin and Flinders Currents and associated increases in water temperatures; modification of local ocean processes, like coastal upwelling; sea-level rise driven threats to inshore habitats, which have critical fish nursery roles; and other threats to inshore habitats posed by simultaneous increases in salinity, river flow and stratification of shallow water bodies. Together these shifts will impact species composition of functional groups and communities in the region. Moreover it will affect the sustainability of the fisheries (commercial and recreational) and aquaculture resources, which will have social and economic flow-on effects for the businesses and communities; particularly as they will be exacerbated by changes in market conditions, input costs and food prices as global change affects consumer purchasing behaviour changes. This means there is a strong need for information that casts light on exposure and vulnerability of the region and identifies robust management and adaptation strategies. Major benefits will only be achieved if there is a means of synthesising information across all topics (ecological, economic and social) to provide system level quantitative assessments and insights. This requires a method that can easily address changing socially and economically driven human behaviour, environments, ecological components, productivity and distributions and cross-jurisdictional human activities and management. Atlantis is uniquely placed in that it can directly address all of these critical factors. The SEAP program can also benefit from the years of development that have resulted in a working Atlantis model for the SE region.
1. Assess what the challenges are for recreational and commercial fisheries and aquaculture management arrangements in managing the interactions between fish and fishers within a changing climate
2. Identify potential barriers (for both Government and industry) to adaptation
3. Inform changes to management arrangements that provide for sustainable management of the resource, provide for efficient operation of markets, foster industry adaptation and enable businesses to manage challenges and take advantage of any emerging opportunities all in the face of uncertainty that will remain associated with climate impacts for decades to come
4. Determine how to detect significant attribute changes to inform a management response again in the face of considerable on-going uncertainty
5. Assess what the challenges are for recreational and commercial fisheries and aquaculture management arrangements in managing the interactions between fish and fishers within a changing climate
This project used end-to-end (whole-of-system) ecosystem models to consider potential futures for southeastern Australian marine and coastal waters under climate change. The work was part of a multi-partner collaboration formed to provide information in support of understanding and risk assessment. The membership of the group included State and Commonwealth agencies, CSIRO, the University of Tasmania and the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Together, this collaborative group developed a South-Eastern Australian Program to address adaptation of fisheries and aquaculture to climate change through coordinated action, which included social research on decision drivers, impact and risk assessment methods. The modelling work in this particular project was a means of synthesizing all the available information so that potential alternative futures could be explored. The outcome of these simulations can then provide guidance for policy makers on the advantages and problems associated with a range of management arrangements and development scenarios. The models can help decision makers understand both the form of potential changes, but also potentially resilient adaptation and management options.The modelling identified 5 barriers to adaptation, mostly residing in then human parts of the system. Overall integrated management was found to have the most consistent and balanced performance relative to conservation, industry and economic objectives. Specific management options (such as extensive spatial management) can out perform integrated management for a sub-set of objectives, but at the expense of performance in terms of other objectives. The synergistic action of changes in ocean temperature, ocean acidification and human use on southeast Australian marine ecosystems supports previous suggestions that effective resource management is an efficacious means of providing ecosystems with an improved capacity for adaptation.