Access and Adaptation in Maine's Marine Fisheries

Fostering fishing industry adaptation to climate-driven species shifts.

Climate-driven shifts in species distributions along the Northeast Shelf are increasingly impacting marine fisheries. Enabling Maine’s fishing industry to capitalize on opportunities created by emerging species requires examining current and future access to permits and licenses for state- and federally-managed species. Through quantitative analyses and stakeholder conversations, this project will advance an understanding of current permitting issues and develop recommendations to support climate adaptation of Maine’s fisheries.

Project Goals:

  • Identify changes in permit and license portfolios held by Maine fishing vessels and examine the extent to which these confer access to emerging species.
  • Examine patterns of Northeast U.S. regional permit transfers and associated drivers.
  • Understand permitting issues that limit the ability of harvesters to adapt to shifting stocks and develop recommendations to overcome current constraints.

As the Gulf of Maine continues to warm, spatial distributions of marine fish and invertebrate species are shifting. Species that are currently common south of Cape Cod are projected to become increasingly prevalent in the Gulf of Maine, but they are not fished in the area at present. While these species may provide future opportunities for Maine’s fisheries, most vessels do not hold permits, licenses, or quota to harvest these species.

Our research will provide a better understanding of the current landscape in Maine of permit and license availability for state- and federally- managed species. In addition, it will explore constraints and options for future access to harvest rights needed to support Maine’s fishing industry as it seeks to adapt to climate change. Through our research, we will combine data analysis methods, such as time-series and network analyses, with stakeholder input from harvesters, shoreside businesses and fisheries managers to better understand and articulate needs associated with permits and climate adaptation in Maine’s fisheries and fishing communities.

Project Team

Project Sponsor

Material mentioned on this page is a result of research funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Sea Grant Office under award NA22OAR4170121.