Climate vulnerability assessment of key fishery resources in the Northern Humboldt Current System

The Northern Humboldt Current System sustains one of the most productive fisheries in the world. However, climate change is anticipated to negatively affect fish production in this region over the next few decades, and detailed analyses for many fishery resources are unavailable. We implemented a trait-based Climate Vulnerability Assessment based on expert elicitation to estimate the relative vulnerability of 28 fishery resources (benthic, demersal, and pelagic) to the impacts of climate change by 2055; ten exposure factors (e.g., temperature, salinity, pH, chlorophyll) and 13 sensitivity attributes (biological and population-level traits) were used. Nearly 36% of the species assessed had “high” or “very high” vulnerability. Benthic species were ranked the most vulnerable (gastropod and bivalve species). The pelagic group was the second most vulnerable; the Pacific chub mackerel and the yellowfin tuna were amongst the most vulnerable pelagic species. The demersal group had the relatively lowest vulnerability. This study allowed identification of vulnerable fishery resources, research and monitoring priorities, and identification of the key exposure factors and sensitivity attributes which are driving that vulnerability. Our findings can help fishery managers incorporate climate change into harvest level and allocation decisions, and assist stakeholders plan for and adapt to a changing future.

Ramos J. E., Tam J., Aramayo V., Briceño F. A., Bandin R., Buitron B., Cuba A., Fernandez E., Flores-Valiente J., Gomez E., Jara H. J., Ñiquen M., Rujel J., Salazar C. M., Sanjinez M., León R. I., Nelson M., Gutiérrez D. & Pecl G. T., 2022. Climate vulnerability assessment of key fishery resources in the Northern Humboldt Current System. Scientific Reports 12: 4800. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-08818-5. Article.

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