Ocean warming is creating challenges for fishing communities as they confront shifts in the productivity and distribution of species they have historically fished. Fishermen respond to these changes in a variety of ways by seeking approaches that enable them to persist, innovate, and adapt as the system changes around them. Contrasting experiences in Southern New England versus Gulf of Maine lobster fisheries provide an opportunity to understand the conditions and responses that enabled fishing communities in Southern New England to maintain strong fishing cultures and economies during rapid ecological and socio-economic changes.
The experiences of Southern New England fishing communities during the decline of American lobster populations in the late 1990s may provide relevant insights for lobstermen and communities in the Gulf of Maine concerned about future declines as a result of rising temperatures.
We will document three major types of outcomes for fishermen and communities responding to change: resilience, adaptation, and transformation.
Additionally, we will investigate how actions and characteristics at individual and community scales shape responses and outcomes. Ultimately, we will evaluate if and how the experiences in Southern New England might apply to lobstermen and communities in the Gulf of Maine in order to support their efforts to maintain culturally, socially, and economically important fishing communities in the region.
Read more about NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office's American Lobster Initiative here.
This project is funded by NOAA’s National Sea Grant Office as part of its American Lobster Initiative under award NA19OAR4170398.
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