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International Workshop on “Setting Biological Reference Points Under a Changing Climate”

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July-Aug-Sept 2013
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The AFSC hosted the international workshop “Setting Biological Reference Points under a Changing Climate” on 13-15 August 2013.  This workshop was co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO, Australia) and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI, Korea). More than 40 scientists participated from seven nations.  Scientists, professors, and students from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Oregon State University, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the University of Washington all contributed to the success of the meeting.  In addition, several scientists within NOAA Fisheries participated by WebEx.

The workshop focused on best practices for setting biological reference points under a changing climate. Climate change is expected to impact the distribution and abundance of fish and shellfish through direct and indirect pathways. The temporal signature of these changes is expected to differ from interannual or decadal variability and, thus, will necessitate new approaches to setting biological reference points for management. Participants in the workshop explored the potential impacts of climate change on population dynamics of key fish and shellfish populations through an examination of existing case studies. Investigators identified the range of potential management strategies to projected climate changes and to explore their implications on the future status and trends of managed species.

The workshop was structured around five central themes:

Session 1:  Mechanisms underlying changes in production and analytical methods for detecting them.

Session 2:  Challenges in separating the impacts of climate change from fishing and natural variability.

Session 3:  Methods for quantifying uncertainty in projected changes.

Session 4: Selecting harvest strategies that are robust to, or adjust appropriately in response to, climate change induced shifts in productivity.

Session 5: Defining the precautionary approach under a changing climate.

Each session was started with one or two invited talks that set the stage followed by an extended discussion period.  Results of this workshop will be published in a special issue of Fisheries Research.

By Anne Hollowed



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