Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 26 Issue 02

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Volume 26, No. 2
Pages 191 - 195

OCEAN POLICY • Fisheries Management in a Changing Climate: Lessons from the 2012 Ocean Heat Wave in the Northwest Atlantic

Katherine E. Mills Andrew J. PershingCurtis J. BrownYong ChenFu-Sung ChiangDaniel S. HollandSigrid LehutaJanet A. NyeJenny C. SunAndrew C. ThomasRichard A. Wahle
First Paragraph

Climate change became real for many Americans in 2012 when a record heat wave affected much of the United States, and Superstorm Sandy pounded the Northeast. At the same time, a less visible heat wave was occurring over a large portion of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Like the heat wave on land, the ocean heat wave affected coastal ecosystems and economies. Marine species responded to warmer temperatures by shifting their geographic distribution and seasonal cycles. Warm-water species moved northward, and some species undertook local migrations earlier in the season, both of which affected fisheries targeting those species. Extreme events are expected to become more common as climate change progresses (Tebaldi et al., 2006; Hansen et al., 2012). The 2012 Northwest Atlantic heat wave provides valuable insights into ways scientific information streams and fishery management frameworks may need to adapt to be effective as ocean temperatures warm and become more variable.


Mills, K.E., A.J. Pershing, C.J. Brown, Y. Chen, F.-S. Chiang, D.S. Holland, S. Lehuta, J.A. Nye, J.C. Sun, A.C. Thomas, and R.A. Wahle. 2013. Fisheries management in a changing climate: Lessons from the 2012 ocean heat wave in the Northwest Atlantic. Oceanography 26(2):191–195, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2013.27.


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