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IJMS Editor's Choice – Fisheries connectivity in large marine ecosystems

The latest Editor’s Choice paper from our Journal of Marine Science is available. Read how connectivity – how much different fisheries are linked by fisher participation – varies in a Large Marine Ecosystem and impacts coastal community vulnerability.
Published: 7 September 2017

​​​​​​​​​​​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 coastal communities.​​​​​​​​​​​​

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​Paper title: Characterizing fisheries connectivity in marine social–ecological systems
 
Authors: Emma C. Fuller,​ Jameal F. Samhouri, Joshua S. Stoll, Simon A. Levin,​ James R. Watson​
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IJMS Editor's Choice – Fisheries connectivity in large marine ecosystems

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