Climate change is anticipated to have long-term and widespread direct consequences for the European marine ecosystems and subsequently for the European fishery sector. Additionally, many socio-economic and political factors linked to climate change scenarios will impact the future development of fishing industries. Robust projection modeling of bioeconomic consequences of climate change on the European fishing sector must identify all these factors and their potential future interaction. In this study, four socio-political scenarios developed in the EU project CERES (Climate change and European aquatic RESources) were operationalized and used in model projections of marine wild capture fisheries. Four CERES scenarios (“World Markets,” “National Enterprise,” “Global Sustainability” and “Local Stewardship”) were based on the IPCC framework of Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs). For each of these scenarios, a set of quantitative outputs was generated to allow projections of bio-economic impacts to mid-century (2050) on wild-capture fisheries operating in different European regions.

Specifically, projections accounted for future changes in fisheries management targets, access regulations, international agreements, fish and fuel prices, technological developments and marine spatial planning. This study thoroughly describes the elements of these four fisheries scenarios and demonstrates an example of the “regionalization” of these scenarios by summarizing how they were applied to the North Sea flatfish fishery. Bioeconomic projections highlight the importance of future developments in fuel and fish price development to the viability of that and other fisheries. Adapting these scenarios for use in other models and regions outside the 10 European fisheries examined in CERES would be highly beneficial by allowing direct comparison of the bioeconomic risks and opportunities posed by climate change.

Kreiss CM, Papathanasopoulou E, Hamon KG, Pinnegar JK, Rybicki S, Micallef G, Tabeau A, Cubillo AM, Peck MA. Future socio-political scenarios for aquatic resources in Europe: an operationalized framework for aquaculture projections. Frontiers in Marine Science. 2020 Sep 29.