Using scenarios to project the changing profitability of fisheries under climate change

Miranda Jones (Lead Author), Stephen R. Dye, John K. Pinnegar, Rachel Warren, William W.L. Cheung

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39 Citations (Scopus)


Over-exploitation and economic underperformance are widespread in the world's fisheries. Global climate change is further affecting the distribution of marine species, raising concern for the persistence of biodiversity and presenting additional challenges to fisheries management. However, few studies have attempted to extend bioclimatic projections to assess the socio-economic impacts of climate-induced range shifts. This study investigates the potential implications of changes in relative environmental suitability and fisheries catch potential on UK fisheries by linking species distribution modelling with cost-benefit analyses. We develop scenarios and apply a multimodel approach to explore the economic sensitivity of UK fisheries and key sources of uncertainty in the modelling procedure. We projected changes in maximum potential catch of key species and the resulting responses in terms of net present value (NPV) over a 45-year period under scenarios of change in fuel price, discount rate and government subsidies. Results suggest that total maximum potential catch will decrease within the UK EEZ by 2050, resulting in a median decrease in NPV of 10%. This value decreases further when trends of fuel price change are extrapolated into the future, becoming negative when capacity-enhancing subsidies are removed. Despite the variation in predictions from alternative models and data input, the direction of change in NPV is robust. This study highlights key factors influencing future profitability of UK fisheries and the importance of enhancing adaptive capacity in UK fisheries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-622
Number of pages20
JournalFish and Fisheries
Early online date9 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Climate change
  • fishery profitability
  • multimodel approach
  • scenarios
  • species distribution modelling
  • UK waters

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