Project number: 2016-059
Project Status:
Current
Budget expenditure: $275,000.00
Principal Investigator: Ryan Murphy
Organisation: Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)
Project start/end date: 31 Dec 2016 - 30 Nov 2018
Contact:
FRDC

Need

The existing research predicts that climate change will have both positive and negative impacts on reproduction, recruitment and distribution of biomass of Australia’s commercially important marine species. Many fishery stakeholders acknowledge that the issue of climate change should be a high priority issue for fisheries management. Current research highlights the potentially significant impacts of climate change on fisheries and fisheries management, but to date strategies for fisheries management to address climate change have been lacking. The current ability of fisheries management to cope with these changes is unknown and therefore must be assessed to test its resilience, ability to adapt and the changes that may be required. AFMA is a prime candidate for leading this assessment since it has substantive responsibility for those areas of the Australian fishing zone that are expected to be hot-spots for climate change effects, such as SE Australia, one of the fastest warming areas in the ocean. In addition, the issues of climate change are canvassed in draft government policies for fisheries and this project could form part of the response to those policy needs.

To-date no jurisdiction in Australia has assessed the resilience of its management system to these anticipated impacts and it is likely to break some new ground in what may need to be done for management systems to effectively adapt to climate change and the options that may be available. Engagement with and participation from key fishery stakeholders is essential for this project to be a success and to assist in any subsequent fisheries management change processes. Overall, this project has the potential to benefit the marine ecosystem and fisheries stakeholders with a vested interest in climate change adaptation, to increase the benefits and reduce the risks. While the production end of the supply chain is often the focus, this project will also consider the supply chain risks, following approaches developed in recent FRDC projects (Hobday et al. 2015; Fleming et al. 2014; Lim-Camacho et al. 2015; Plaganyi et al. 2014; van Putten et al. 2015)

Objectives

1. To assess how well the existing Commonwealth fisheries management framework will cope with climate change impacts.
2. To develop a methodology and approach for AFMA and other fisheries to adapt their regulatory environment to climate change impacts on Commonwealth fisheries.
3. To develop strategies and priorities to account for effects of climate change in the management of Commonwealth fisheries

Report

ISBN: 978-1-925994-24-7
Authors: Fulton E.A. van Putten E.I Dutra L.X.C. Melbourne-Thomas J. Ogier E. Thomas L. Rayns N. Murphy R. Butler I. Ghebrezgabhier D. Hobday A.J.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 3.38 MB
2016-059-DLD.pdf

Summary

This project is comprised of four key components:
(i) FRDC Final Report (Appendices 3-5 are provided as standalone documents);
(ii) Adaptation Handbook (designed to help fisheries managers, operators – and anyone else helping to support fisheries – step through a risk assessment and identify feasible adaptation options);  
(iii) Educational Excel Tool (to support the Handbook); and
(iv) Fact Sheet.
 
Climate change is presenting some of the greatest challenges faced by fisheries, especially in hotspot locations like Australia. This project found that the existing Commonwealth fisheries management framework has many vulnerabilities with respect to climate impacts and has many potential points of failure with respect to pursuing policy and legislated objectives and international obligations. While Commonwealth fisheries follow best practice management approaches, which means they are starting from the best possible response foundation (FAO in press) adaptive responses will be required to cope with the many faceted impacts climate change is having and is anticipated to have on Australian marine and coastal ecosystems (Creighton et al. 2016).

To assist the adaptation process, this project developed a process documented in an Adaptation Handbook (and associated excel tool). This process steps interested stakeholders, industry and managers through a structured process to rate  risks and identify adaptation options – both to do with fishery operations and management actions. The process and handbook were specifically developed with AFMA needs and Commonwealth fisheries in mind, but can be applied to fisheries in other jurisdictions. Users could adjust them as needed for the context of their fishery, adding/removing ecosystem factors, industry operations and management actions based on relevance to their fishery.

The project activities – the initial ecological sensitivity analysis undertaken for all Commonwealth fisheries, the assessment of potential risks to AFMA’s capacity to deliver on policy and legislated objectives and the initial illustrative implementations of the risk assessment and adaptation process – have highlighted some general adaptation options that are likely to be of value in many Australian fisheries.

Key findings are:
• All AFMA fisheries contain valuable species sensitive to climate change, with some of the most valuable fisheries amongst those fisheries showing the greatest sensitivity
• All fisheries, but especially short lived and invertebrate fisheries are likely to become far more variable into the future, that is, when, where and how much fish is caught
• Bycatch and TEPS are likely to be highly sensitive to climate change effects, meaning there will be a need to understand how that interacts with any fishing effects
• A shifting ecosystem state over multiple years (or decades) has the potential to go unnoticed and eventually undermine the sustainability of Australian fisheries and the businesses and livelihoods that depend upon them
• Cross jurisdictional management coordination will be required to improve adaptation to climate change, maximising flexibility needed for adaptive capacity and minimising the risks arising from cumulative effects
• Monitoring and forecast capacity will become key to understanding system change that supports evidence-based decision making, fishery sustainability and business profitability
• Australia needs to find a way of making monitoring and forecasting possible and supported long term to maintain our position and reputation as having well managed fisheries (Australia’s monitoring capacity is currently insufficient given the degree to which climate change will likely reshape Australian ecosystems).


Project products

Report • 2021-08-31 • 547.42 KB
2016-059-DLD-Appendix3-Climate-Sensitivity-Rating.pdf

Summary

Appendix 3 summarises the exposure of AFMA managed fisheries to ecologically mediated climate change effects. The assessment was undertaken in 2020 based on best available information at the time, including:
• Expected trajectories of climate change (temperature, pH, oxygen, salinity, rainfall) as projected by (a) the modified Ocean Forecasting Australia Model version 3 (OFAM-v3) from the CSIRO Ocean Downscaling Strategic Project (and as reported in Fulton et al. 2018), which specifically focuses on fine scale ocean environment around Australia; and (b) the Australian region of the ensemble of climate model outputs available from the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6), which will inform the upcoming 2021 IPCC sixth assessment report (AR6)
• Extreme events projections made by Oliver et al. (2018)
• Biomass trajectories from species distribution models and various ecosystem models (as reported in Fulton et al. 2018); and
• Climate sensitivity assessments following the method of Pecl et al. (2014) applied to all species currently listed in the Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) level 2 productivity-susceptibility analysis for each fishery. Where species had been previously assessed (i.e. those species reported in the appendices of Fulton et al. 2018) the extant assessments were used. Where the sensitivity of a species had not previously been assessed an automated assessment was carried out using the criteria listed in Table 1-1 of Fulton et al. (2018) and the attribute values used in the ERAs.
 
Report • 2021-08-31 • 307.75 KB
2016-059-DLD-Appendix4-Risk-of-Failure-to-Deliver-Objectives-Rating.pdf

Summary

Appendix 4 summarises the ways in which climate change exposes the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) to the risk of failing to meet objectives laid out in federal policy, legislation (e.g. Fisheries Act or Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act) and international obligations (due to international treaties and agreements). This assessment shows a number of points of potential failure. Fundamentally the abundance, distribution or behaviour of key Australia species and habitats is very likely to change in the short to medium term. This poses a number of risks to AFMA’s capacity to meet its current objectives.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 2.16 MB
2016-059-DLD-Appendix5-Part1- Regional-Projections-Northern-Australia.pdf

Summary

Appendix 5.1 provides regional projections for Northern Australia.
Oceans and climate are tightly tied together. This means that as the world’s climate change some of the biggest signatures of that will be in our oceans, affecting the ecosystems and fisheries there. Understanding what that means for specific locations can be difficult, but we have some idea about what northern Australia, from the Pilbara to Cape York and the Torres Strait, may look like by 2040.
CSIRO has used four different kinds of models to look how species and ecosystems may respond into the future. Just looking at environmental conditions the species currently prefer suggests many species will decline in abundance. However, food web interactions (where prey increase or predators decrease) mean that some species may actually increase in abundance instead.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 3.82 MB
2016-059-DLD-Appendix5-Part2-Regional-Projections-East-Australia.pdf

Summary

Appendix 5.2 provides regional projections for Eastern Australia.
Oceans and climate are tightly tied together. This means that as the world’s climate changes some of the biggest signatures of that will be in our oceans, affecting the ecosystems and fisheries there. Understanding what that means for specific locations can be difficult, but we have some idea about what Eastern Australia, from Cape York to Tasmania, may look like by 2040.
CSIRO has used four different kinds of models to look how species and ecosystems may respond into the future. Just looking at environmental conditions the species currently prefer suggests many species will decline in abundance. However, food web interactions (where prey increase or predators decrease) mean that some species (especially pelagics) may actually increase in abundance instead.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 1.98 MB
2016-059-DLD-Appendix5-Part3-Regional-Projections-Southern-Australia.pdf

Summary

Appendix 5.3 provides regional projections for Southern Australia.
Oceans and climate are tightly tied together. This means that as the world’s climate changes some of the biggest signatures of that will be in our oceans, affecting the ecosystems and fisheries there. Understanding what that means for specific locations can be difficult, but we have some idea about what southern Australia may look like by 2040, from Busselton to Tasmania and up the east coast to the Queensland border.
CSIRO has used four different kinds of models to look how species and ecosystems may respond into the future. Just looking at environmental conditions the species currently prefer suggests many species will decline in abundance. However, food web interactions (where prey increase or predators decrease) mean that some species may actually increase in abundance instead.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 2.36 MB
2016-059-DLD-Appendix5-Part4-Regional-Projections-Western-Australia.pdf

Summary

Appendix 5.4 provides regional projections for Western Australia.
Oceans and climate are tightly tied together. This means that as the world’s climate changes some of the biggest signatures of that will be in our oceans, affecting the ecosystems and fisheries there. Understanding what that means for specific locations can be difficult, but we have some idea about what western Australia, from the Pilbara to Albany, may look like by 2040.
CSIRO has used four different kinds of models to look how species and ecosystems may respond into the future. Just looking at environmental conditions the species currently prefer suggests many species will decline in abundance. However, food web interactions (where prey increase or predators decrease) mean that some species may actually increase in abundance instead.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 2.04 MB
2016-059-DLD-Appendix5-Part5-Regional-Projections-Kerguelen-Plateau.pdf

Summary

Appendix 5.5 provides regional projections for the Kerguelen Plateau (Heard Island and MacDonald Islands).
Understanding what that means for specific locations can be difficult, but we have some idea about what Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone on the Kerguelen Plateau in the Southern Ocean may look like by 2040.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 4.21 MB
2016-059-Climate_Adaptation_Handbook_Updated_June11_2021_WEB.pdf

Summary

This Handbook was written as a core deliverable of the AFMA/CSIRO project Adaptation of Commonwealth fisheries management to climate change (FRDC project 2016-059).
 
The basic aim of that project is to understand the risks climate change presents to Commonwealth fisheries so that the following questions can be answered:
1. What changes does AFMA need to make to its regulatory system so that it can still effectively deliver its management objectives?
2. What are the consequences of those changes for the fishing industry and other fishery stakeholders?

However, this handbook has been designed to be used by a range of fishery stakeholders including industry, management, traditional and recreational sectors. While its development focussed on application to Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries it can equally be applied to fisheries managed by other jurisdictions.

The risk assessment has been designed in a series of steps, each focussing on a different aspect of a fishery’s operation. As a result, the assessment steps can be used in their entirety or specific steps can be undertaken as needed. For example, the fisheries risk management assessment could be used more generally as checklist on how climate proofed any new alternative management strategy under consideration would be. Or industry groups might want to take the ecological risk assessment and consider financial factors outside of management decision making.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 1.20 MB
2016-059-Climate_Adaptation_Handbook_Factsheet_2021_WEB_14Sep2021.pdf

Summary

This fact sheet contains essential information on the Adaptation Handbook in a concise and simple language.
Report • 2021-08-31 • 500.69 KB
2016-059-Handbook_Guide_Tool.xlsx

Summary

This excel tool has been compiled to assist users of the Adaptation Handbook work through the multi-step assessment process. 
Each step provides a structured approach for deriving a risk score. Ecological, fishery and management risk scores are then combined into an overall risk assessment score to help guide decision making.

Related research

Industry
Industry
PROJECT NUMBER • 2020-067
PROJECT STATUS:
CURRENT

SeSAFE – Delivering Industry Safety through Electronic Learning

1. INFORM, via an independent review, the design and application of user-pay funding models in Australian primary industries, the potential for a similar model to be introduced by SeSAFE in the fishing and aquaculture industry, and steps recommended to realise this outcome.
ORGANISATION:
Smart Fishing Consulting
Environment