Shifting fish and shifting fishers: examining fishing communities responses to range shifts of marine fish species
Coastal regions have seen major ecological changes over the last century, including shifts in the distribution of fish stocks. Such stock shifts have been well documented, but our understanding of human response, and the factors which impact that response, remains limited. In this project, we aim to synthesize ecological, economic, regulatory, and public record data to better understand these ecological changes and corresponding community responses on the northeast coast of the United States. Our approach is interdisciplinary and mixes quantitative and qualitative methods. We will characterize shifts of commercially fished marine stocks and examine whether and how fisher communities respond to such ecological changes in combination with social, economic, and regulatory forces. We will then assess how those ecological and community changes are reflected in political debate and formal policy. Our hope is that this work will elucidate loci of surprise—ecological, economic and regulatory—for fishing communities and provide a foundation for management that is scientifically informed, responsive to community priorities, and flexible enough to be adaptable in the face of unforeseen changes.