Fisheries and marine ecosystems are challenged globally by climate change with subsequent biological and socio-ecological implications. Adaptation represents one pathway by which management agencies can seek to ensure sustainability of these resources for societal well-being, particularly when based on strong scientific evidence. Here, we examined the extent of primary scientific literature that is currently available to inform climate adaption initiatives for Australian fisheries. This is achieved via a systematic literature review for 99 harvested Australian marine species, aimed at identifying primary scientific articles that reported new knowledge of climate-driven biological changes and/or socio-ecological implications. We then assessed the quantity of scientific literature against estimated relative climate sensitivity scores for each species (from a previous study), and investigated factors that may influence relative research effort. We found that two-thirds of species had no peer-reviewed climate-related literature available, and that research effort among Australian fisheries species is most closely related to the number of commercial fish stocks per species, and commercial catch weight. We also found that the south-east and western Australian regions had the most climate-related biological information to support climate adaptation in fisheries management. Nonetheless, although accumulating knowledge of the biological and socio-ecological implications of climate change is important, increasing knowledge alone is insufficient to maintain the productivity and profitability of Australian fisheries in light of projected climate impacts. We suggest that the further use of this knowledge to inform decision-making processes is essential to ensure that climate adaptation options are fully explored, to allow sustainable and productive fisheries.
Hannah E. Fogarty, C. Cvitanovic, A. Hobday
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries