Marine social–ecological systems are constantly changing,
and fishers who make a living from working the seas are continually adapting in
response to different sources of variability. One main way in which fishers can
adapt to ecosystem change is to change the fisheries they participate in. This
acts to connect fisheries, creating interlinked networks of alternative sources
of income for fishers.
In this paper, the authors bring together fisheries data and
construct networks of connectivity between fisheries for all major ports in
California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. These networks are composed of
nodes, which are the individual fisheries, connected by links, whose weights
are proportional to the number of participating vessels.
Fisheries connectivity networks identify central fisheries
in this Large Marine Ecosystem, specifically those of Dungeness crab and spiny lobster,
and systematic topological differences, for example in the network resilience
and modularity. These network metrics directly relate to the social
vulnerability of coastal fishing communities, especially their sensitivity and
capacity to adapt to disturbance.
Ultimately, improving knowledge of fisheries connectivity is
vital if policy makers are to create governance institutions that allow fishers
to adapt to environmental, technological, and management change while at the
same time enhancing the social and economic value of fisheries. In doing so,
new policies that account for fisheries connectivity, will lead to improved
sustainable fisheries management, and enhanced socioeconomic resilience of