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Dr. Anne Hollowed attended the international symposium and workshop on "Climate variability and change impacts on marine resources and Fisheries in the South Pacific: Toward a South Pacific Integrated Ecosystem Studies Program (SPICES)" which was held in Concepcion, Chile, on 7-10 January 2013. The meeting, attended by 91 scientists from 10 countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, England, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Uruguay, and the USA), featured six theme sessions:

S1:  Toward climate indices and regionalized models (dowscaling) to study climate variability and change in the South Pacific
S2:  Assessing species-specific responses to climate variability and change
S3:  Assessing ecosystem responses to climate variability and change
S4:  Climate variability and change: Impact on fisheries and coastal communities
S5:  Managing fisheries and ecosystems under a variable and changing climate
S6:  Marine and Antarctic Ecosystem programs: EBFM, MPA, policies and governance in a changing climate framework

The meeting concluded with the 1-day workshop "South Pacific Integrated eCosystEm Studies (SPICES) Program: Toward an International Program to study Climate Variability and Change on Marine Resources and Fisheries in the South Pacific," which served as a forum for discussing the formation of an international marine research program for the South Pacific.

Dr. Hollowed was the plenary speaker for Theme Session 5. The title of her talk was "Managing fisheries and ecosystems under a variable and changing climate in the North Pacific". The following is the abstract from her talk.

Recent reviews of the global status of commercial fish and fisheries reveal several factors that contribute to the achievement of sustainable fisheries and the successful adoption of an ecosystem approach to management. These factors include leadership, social capital, incentives, as well as a commitment to the collection and assessment of high quality information on the fished populations and the environment. Adapting successful management strategies to sustain fish and fisheries under changing climate conditions requires new management tools and flexible frameworks.

This paper will review the management systems of selected large marine ecosystems, assess how climate variability and change will alter these systems, and evaluate the capacity of the management system to adjust to expected effect of climate change on the distribution, abundance and species composition of target species. Projections are used to identify future bottlenecks that may emerge from the current governance structures that evolved to manage sustainable fisheries. This synthesis demonstrates the need for a coordinated global effort to evaluate future harvest strategies within the context of multiple stressors to adequately assess the implications of climate change on the global food supply.

Overall the symposium was a success. Workshop participants agreed that there is a need for an international marine science organization in the South Pacific, however, they recognized that it will take time to build support amongst member nations. In the interim, participants agreed to work together to utilize existing meeting venues to convene theme sessions focused on the impacts of climate variability and change on marine ecosystems. Selected papers from the symposium will be published as a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal. In addition, symposium organizers plan to publish the major findings and conclusions of the meeting in the journal Biology Letters.

By Anne Hollowed
 

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