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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2016) estimates for 2014 that the global trade in fish and fishery products was near $148 billion (U.S. dollars) and employed close to 38 million people. Healthy ecosystems are also important for sustaining coastal marine tourism activities estimated globally to be over $160 billion (U.S. dollars) per year (FAO 2016). Additionally, estimates from the World Bank (2017) indicate that additional benefits could be gained (e.g., $83 billion dollars in 2012) with higher sustainable harvest attainable due to larger fish biomass; lower fishing costs due to lower fishing effort; and higher unit prices of landings due to improved species composition of the global stock. Given the important socioeconomic value of coastal and marine resources [Fisheries Economics of the United States (NMFS 2015)], when confronted with fluctuations in fisheries or significant changes in marine ecosystems, stakeholders (e.g., the public, commercial and sport fishing industries, fishery managers, scientists, coastal community conservationists, environmental groups, and the media) are increasingly asking the scientific research community if the observed, and perceived to be unprecedented, extremes and trends in ocean conditions that impact living marine resources are due to natural variability (i.e., potential recurrences of past events) or a manifestation of long-term changes in climate (i.e., "new normals" or "regime shifts" not experienced before; King et al. 2005).

A clear understanding of the background conditions and underlying processes resulting in extremes and trends in ocean conditions impacting living marine resources are of value to guide decision making. Without this knowledge, policy, planning, and decision makers face greater uncertainties in making informed decisions to minimize disruptive impacts, to guide management choices to better prepare for future changes, and to inform sustainability strategies to ensure the continued benefits of healthy and productive marine ecosystems. Regional Fisheries Management Councils in the United States, and similar regulatory bodies in other parts of the world, allow participatory governance by knowledgeable people with a stake in their individual regions to develop marine fisheries management plans (such as fishing seasons, quotas, and closed areas) based on sound scientific advice. When confronted with extreme ocean conditions impacting marine ecosystems and fisheries, in order to make informed decisions on how to best manage the impacted living marine resources, fisheries management organizations can use answers to four fundamental questions: What happened? Why did it happen? Is it predictable? and What is the likelihood of it happening again? To answer these questions, the BAMS 2016 report "Explaining Extreme Events from a Climate Perspective" includes three studies that strive to connect attribution of an extreme ocean condition with the socioeconomic impacts on living marine resources: "A multifactor analysis of the record 2016 Great Barrier Reef bleaching" (Lewis and Mallela 2018); "Ecological impacts of the 2015/16 El Nino in the central equatorial Pacific" (Brainard et al. 2018); and "Multiyear extreme ocean temperatures with impacts on living marine resources off the U.S. West Coast during 2016" (Jacox et al. 2018).

These and previous studies (see Table 2.1 for selected examples) describe physical and biogeochemical characteristics impacting living marine resources, and strive to identify climate mechanisms and forcings that led to their occurrence. Large-scale patterns of coupled ocean-atmospheric circulation are assessed in terms of their influence on the statistics of extreme events regionally. The goal of these studies is to explain the effects of individual extreme ocean condition events (e.g., marine heat waves, Hobday et al. 2016; Ummenhofer and Meehl 2017), or cumulative effects of trends and trajectories in ocean conditions that can result in abrupt shifts, and potentially to tipping points, in marine ecosystems that can last for prolonged periods (e.g., deYoung et al. 2008; Mollmann et al. 2015), and ultimately provide process-understanding of the resulting impacts (e.g., Rocha et al. 2015). Such effects include the physical or biogeochemical characteristics of the environment (temperature, salinity, nutrient levels), ecosystem structure (changes in community make-up, shifts between benthic and pelagic production), fisheries (shifts in distribution and/or abundance of important commercial and recreational species), and the socioeconomic impacts on the human communities that depend on them.

For example, consider recent extreme regional ocean conditions events resulting in changes in ecosystems and regional fishery stocks (e.g., Cavole et al. 2016) following a previous and perceived to be unprecedented collapse in some of the same fishery stocks ten years earlier (e.g., Lindley et al. 2009). Critical risk management questions are whether there has been a shift in the probability of ocean conditions leading to such an extreme impact, and whether living marine resource managers can, or should, adapt to an apparent increased risk (1). Assessments of how natural and human causes influence the probability of extremes and trends in ocean conditions impacting living marine resources can be used to assess vulnerabilities and to guide adaptation and mitigation decision making by fisheries management councils to improved resilience in a varying and changing climate (e.g., Hare et al. 2016).

Management decisions on how to respond to extreme environmental conditions will clearly benefit from a mechanistic understanding. Such understanding can provide quantitative estimates of the relative contributions of natural variability, anthropogenic climate change, and other factors through fraction of attributable risk (FAR; Stott et al. 2004) and other statistical analyses. The added insights will assist fisheries management bodies in considering strategies to deal with extreme events, anticipate the risks (and their confidence intervals) to human and natural systems, and thereby support management and protection of marine resources at national regional, state, and local levels.

In the short term, these studies provide resource managers with better understanding of the current and future risk of extreme ocean conditions impacting living marine resources that enable better-informed policies, planning, and decisions made based upon the best available scientific understanding. In the longer term, the rigorous understanding of the predictability and future risk of extreme ocean conditions can advance both the science and decision criteria needed to improve the certainty of threat assessments for ocean conditions impacting commercial and recreational fisheries and other marine resources. While the impacts on, and responses by, living marine resources are typically the result of the cumulative effect of multiple stressors, risk-based analyses of extreme ocean conditions are of value to inform integrated ecosystem-based fisheries management decisions (e.g., Fulton et al. 2013; NOA A's 2016 Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management Roadmap, /ebfm/EBFM_Road_Map_final.pdf) to maximize the global, national, regional, and local socioeconomic value of living marine resources.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. The authors thank Jason Link, Jonathan Hare, Roger Pulwarty, and Gary Matlock for their insightful comments on early versions of our perspective manuscript. The scientific results and conclusions, as well as any views or opinions expressed herein, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOA A or the Department of Commerce.



Brainard, R. E., and Coauthors, 2018: Ecological impacts of the 2015/16 El Nino in the central equatorial Pacific [in "Explaining Extreme Events of 2016 from a Climate Perspective"]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 99 (1), S21-S26, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0128.1.

Cavole, L. M., and Coauthors, 2016: Biological impacts of the 2013-2015 warm-water anomaly in the northeast Pacific. Oceanography, 29 (2), 273-285, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2016.32.

deYoung, B., M. Barange, G. Beaugrand, R. Harris, R. I. Perry, M. Scheffer, and F. Werner, 2008: Regime shifts in marine ecosystems: Detection, prediction and management. Trends Ecol. Evol., 23, 402-409, doi:10.1016/j.tree.2008.03.008.

FAO, 2016: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016: Contributing to Food Security and Nutrition for All. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 200 pp. [Available online at]

Fulton, E. A., A. D. Smith, D. C. Smith, and P. Johnson, 2014: An integrated approach is needed for ecosystem based fisheries management: Insights from ecosystem-level management strategy evaluation. PLoS One, 9, e84242, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084242.

Hare, J. A., and Coauthors, 2012: Cusk (Brosme brosme) and climate change: Assessing the threat to a candidate marine fish species under the US Endangered Species Act. ICES J. Mar. Sei., 69, 1753-1768, doi:10.1093/icesjms/fss160.

--, and Coauthors, 2016: A vulnerability assessment of fish and invertebrates to climate change on the Northeast U.S. continental shelf. PLoS One, 11, e0146756, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0146756.

Hauser, D. D. W., K. L. Laidre, K. M. Stafford, H. L. Stern, R. S. Suydam, and P. R. Richard, 2016: Decadal shifts in autumn migration timing by Pacific Arctic beluga whales are related to delayed annual sea ice formation. Global Change Biol, 23, 2206-2217, doi:10.1111/gcb. 13564.

Hobday, A. J., and Coauthors, 2016: A hierarchical approach to defining marine heatwaves. Prog. Oceanogr., 141, 227-238, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2015.12.014.

Jacox, M. G., M. A. Alexander, N. J. Mantua, J. D. Scott, G. Hervieux, R. S. Webb and F. E. Werner, 2018: Forcing of multiyear extreme ocean temperatures that impacted California Current living marine resources in 2016 [in "Explaining Extreme Events of 2016 from a Climate Perspective"]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 99 (1), S27-S33, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0119.1.

King, J. R., Ed., 2005: Report of the study group on fisheries and ecosystem responses to recent regime shifts. PICES Scientific Rep. 28, 162 pp. [Available online at /scientific_reports/Report28/Rep_28_FERRRS.pdf.]

Lewis, S., and J. Mallela, 2018: A multifactor analysis of the record 2016 Great Barrier Reef bleaching [in "Explaining Extreme Events of 2016 from a Climate Perspective"]. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 99 (1), S144S149, doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0074.1.

Lindley, S. T., and Coauthors, 2009: What caused the Sacramento River fall chinook stock collapse? NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SWFSC-447,121 pp. [Available online at /SWFSC/NOA A-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-447.pdf.]

Marshall, K. N., and Coauthors, 2017: Risks of ocean acidification in the California Current food web and fisheries: Ecosystem model projections. Global Change Biol., 23,1525-1539, doi:10.1111/gcb.13594.

Meng, K. C., K. L. Oremus, and S. D. Gaines, 2016: New England cod collapse and the climate. PLoS One, 11, e0158487, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0158487.

Mollmann, C., C. Folke, M. Edwards, and A. Conversi, 2015: Marine regime shifts around the globe: Theory, drivers and impacts. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. London B, 370, 20130260, doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0260.

NMFS, 2016: Fisheries economics of the United States 2014. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-163,235 pp. [Available online at /default/files/TM163.pdf.]

Rocha, J., J. Yletyinen, R. Biggs, T. Blenckner, and G. Peterson, 2015: Marine regime shifts: Drivers and impacts on ecosystems services. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. B, 370, 20130273, doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0273.

Stott, P. A., D. A. Stone, and M. R. Allen, 2004: Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003. Nature, 432, 610-614, doi:10.1038/nature03089.

Ummenhofer, C. C., and G. A. Meehl, 2017: Extreme weather and climate events with ecological relevance: A review. Philos. Trans. Roy. Soc. B, 372, 20160135, doi:10.1098/rstb.2016.0135.

World Bank, 2017: The Sunken Billions Revisited: Progress and Challenges in Global Marine Fisheries. World Bank, 99 pp., doi:10.1596/978-l-4648-0919-4.

(1) -vulnerability-of-fish-stocks and /climate/national-climate-strategy
Table 2.1. Examples of climate attribution studies of an extreme
ocean conditions impacting on living marine resources (also see
Brainard et al. 2018, Jacox et al. 2018, and Lewis and
Mallela 2018, chapters 5, 6, and 28, in this report).

Title                          Author

What caused the       Lindley et al. 2009
Sacramento River
fall Chinook stock

Climate change        Hare et al. 2012
impact on the
Atlantic cusk

West Coast            Marshall et al. 2017
Dungeness crab

New England           Meng et al. 2016
Cod Collapse

Beluga whale          Hauser et al. 2016
migration altered
by delayed sea ice

California Current    Cavole et al. 2016
large marine

Title                    Geographic Location      Timing of Event

What caused the       U.S West Coast/California   2008
Sacramento River      Current
fall Chinook stock

Climate change        Gulf of Maine,              mid-1990s
impact on the         Georges Bank, and
northeast             the Scotian Shelf
Atlantic cusk

West Coast            U.S. West Coast             2016
Dungeness crab

New England           Gulf of Maine               2014
Cod Collapse

Beluga whale          Eastern Chukchi Sea and     2004-2012
migration altered     Eastern Beaufort Sea
by delayed sea ice

California Current    Northeast Pacific           2014-2016
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Author:Webb, Robert S.; Werner, Francisco E.
Publication:Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2018

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