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ICES-PICES Workshop on Global Assessment of the Implications of Climate Change on the Spatial Distribution of Fish and Fisheries

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Figure 1.  Group photo of participants of the ICES-PICES SICCME-Spatial workshop.

The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) Strategic Initiative (Section) on Climate Change Impacts on Marine Ecosystems (SICCME) held a workshop on changes in spatial distribution (WKSICCME-Spatial) on the island district of Vasileostrovskiy, in St. Petersburg, Russia, 22-24 May 2013.

The workshop was attended by 67 scientists from 13 nations as well as representatives from ICES, PICES and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (Fig. 1). The workshop, chaired by Anne Hollowed (USA, PICES), Suam Kim (Korea, PICES) and Myron Peck (Germany, ICES), was convened to foster the development and testing of analytical methods for detecting changes in distribution, assessing the skill of different modeling approaches, and quantifying uncertainty in projected climate-driven changes. Other important questions addressed were: how do we best to design a global database of marine observations and what strategies should we use to assess vulnerability (of resources and those that depend upon them) to shifts in distribution?

The workshop was organized around six theme sessions: 1) Analytical methods for detecting changes in spatial distribution, 2) Skill assessment and model inter-comparison, 3) Quantifying uncertainty, 4) Design specification for database of observations of distribution of living marine resources, 5) Vulnerability assessment, and 6) Communicating outcomes to inform decisions regarding management of living marine resources under changing climate.

Each session had one or two keynote speakers and three breakout group leaders; the latter guided participants through a set of pre-defined discussion questions. The key points from each session were discussed in plenary, and consensus recommendations were made for future PICES-ICES activities on climate-driven changes in spatial distribution of living marine resources.

The format of the workshop allowed ample time for discussion and debate and a considerable amount of information was exchanged within the 3 days. The workshop participants and other PICES and ICES scientists will continue to work together in the coming year towards a synthesis of climate-driven changes in distribution and recommendations on how to improve methods to assess regional and/or latitudinal differences in the vulnerability of species to climate change-induced shifts in ocean conditions.

A first step towards these goals will be summarizing the outcomes of this workshop in a set of manuscripts stemming from the discussions in each session. The manuscripts will continue to strengthen the close ties between ICES and PICES scientists within the SICCME and will create a lasting legacy for the workshop.

By Anne Hollowed

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