NOAA Fisheries has announced a second round of Climate Science Regional Action Plans to help decision makers prepare for and respond to rapidly changing ocean conditions.
NOAA officials noted on June 29 that in 2022 NOAA Fisheries stock assessments reported significant declines in snow crab and Bristol Bay red king crab, which led to fisheries closures in Alaska for those species. NOAA biologists said that those population crashes were likely a result of the 2019 marine heat wave in the North Pacific Ocean, attributed to climate change.
The newly released plans build on ongoing efforts first launched by NOAA Fisheries in 2015 to address climate change in an effort with partners to better track, understand, forecast and use information on changing ocean and climate conditions, as well as address key objectives of the NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy.
Detailed regions action plans are written specifically for Western states, the Pacific Islands, the Gulf of Alaska, the Eastern Bering Sea and the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.
For the Pacific Islands, goals include updating the Hawai’i Ecosystem Status Report, conducting climate vulnerability assessments and ensuring environmental justice, equity and gender representation in climate mitigation measures.
For the Gulf of Alaska, the objectives include advancing the Gulf of Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling project and developing a communications and engagement strategy to support co-producing science in Gulf communities.
For the Eastern Bering Sea, NOAA’s objectives include using results of ecosystem linked assessments and climate projections to assess impacts on fisheries and fishery dependent communities, plus working with federal and academic partners to improve regional hindcasts, forecasts and projections of ocean and estuarine/river physics, sea ice and biogeochemistry.
Objectives for the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas include renewal of the Arctic Ecosystem Status Report and expansion of trophic and spatial models for Arctic systems.
More information about the plan is available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/news/headquarters-climate-action-plan