Climate change is already impacting marine ecosystems. To adequately assess the threats and opportunities created we need modelling frameworks capable of evaluating the transfer of climate signals from the atmosphere to the oceans, and its propagation through to fish and fisheries. Significant progress has been achieved in developing such models. However, they seldom incorporate human activity in their projections, and thus ignore its capacity to amplify or minimise climate impacts. Emerging models exploring the synergistic dual exposure of marine ecosystems to climate change and human activity demonstrate firstly the explicit inclusion of humans is essential to provide meaningful and realistic climate change projections, and secondly effective tools for adaptation and mitigation strategies cannot be developed in their absence. The challenge is thus to develop coupled modelling frameworks that allow society to investigate the trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation in the management of marine ecosystems.