One of the major implications of climate change is the large-scale redistribution of species; as the environment changes, species shift in response to keep track of preferred environmental conditions.
This is happening faster in the ocean compared to land, and species are moving greater distances where the warming is greater (Chen et al 2011 Science) - such as the southeast of Australia.
To best respond to these changes we need to ensure 1/ we have an early indication of how species are shifting (what might be new opportunities?) and 2/ our industries and communities are aware of these changes and accepting of the science underpinning management responses. Redmap takes advantage of the collective observations and geographical area covered by fishers and divers to provide detailed, verifiable and low-cost observations of how and when our marine ecosystems are changing. Information collected can address key knowledge gaps in partnership with the southeast’s marine industries and coastal communities. Critically, it is also a valuable proven tool to promote awareness of climate change impacts. Range shifts is a concept which is tangible, visual and easily understood, in contrast with complicated computational projections or analyses which are not readily grasped (or indeed trusted) by the general community. Up to 80% of fishers do not believe climate change is occurring, or that it will affect their industry, yet given Australia approach of co-management it is absolutely critical that industry and community acknowledge climate change as a risk so they may better respond and adapt in a timely manner to the challenges ahead.
This project directly addresses high level objectives in the SEAP/DAFF deed, which are to:
• facilitate fishing and aquaculture sectors to make informed decisions on adapting to climate change; For example, as new species are reported to Redmap in a new jurisdiction, stakeholders will be able to consider the potential of future fishing opportunities.
• inform decisions on fisheries management arrangements to ensure they are responsive to a changing environment. For example, as new species are reported to Redmap in a new jurisdiction, fisheries managers will be able to review available data and consider the appropriateness of current management controls such as catch limits, closed seasons and size limits.
In terms of the existing DAFF deed milestones, this proposal clearly aligns with 'information products of climate change implications for the sectors'. It has demonstrated capacity to help increase awareness amongst the fishing and non-fishing community - increased awareness is a pre-requisite for effective stakeholder engagement and ultimately adaptation.