Start 1. March 2011
End 28. February 2015
Funded by EU

The Arctic is engaged in a deep climatic evolution. This evolution is quite predictable at short (year) and longer scales (several decades), but it is the decadal intermediate scale that is the most difficult to predict. This is because the natural variability of the system is large and dominant at this scale, and the system is highly non linear due to positive and negative feedback between sea ice, the ocean and atmosphere.

Already today, due to the increase of the GHG concentration in the atmosphere and the amplification of global warming in the Arctic, the impacts of climate change in the region are apparent, e.g. in the reduction in sea ice, in changes in weather patterns and cyclones or in the melting of glaciers and permafrost. It is therefore not surprising that models clearly predict that Artic sea ice will disappear in summer within 20 or 30 years, yielding new opportunities and risks for human activities in the Arctic.

This climatic evolution is going to have strong impacts on both marine ecosystems and human activities in the Arctic. This in turn has large socio-economic implications for Europe. ACCESS will evaluate climatic impacts in the Arctic on marine transportation (including tourism), fisheries, marine mammals and the extraction of hydrocarbons for the next 20 years; with particular attention to environmental sensitivities and sustainability. These meso-economic issues will be extended to the macro-economic scale in order to highlight trans-sectoral implications and provide an integrated assessment of the socio-economic impact of climate change. An important aspect of ACCESS, given the geostrategic implication of Arctic state changes, will be the consideration of Arctic governance issues, including the framework UNCLOS (United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea). ACCESS dedicates a full work package to integrate Arctic climate changes, socioeconomic impacts and Arctic governance issues.

The main objective of this work package is to estimate and quantify how climate changes impact Arctic fisheries and aquaculture, and the livelihood of communities and economic actors depending of these industries. The work will focus on the fisheries, aquaculture and livelihood in the European Arctic sector, and how governance can support the fisheries industries under climate change influence.

The specific objectives of this work package are to:

3.1 quantify and illustrate how climate changes impact the fishing activities within the Arctic environment, due to biological and regulatory constraints

3.2 review effects from climate change on aquaculture production within the Arctic, including the environmental feed-back effects on the socio-ecological system

3.3 assess the effect from climate change on input and output markets of the Arctic fishing industry

3.4 evaluate the regional and local effects of climate-related environmental changes on fisheries, focusing on the adaptive strategies in commercial and subsistence fishery

3.5 review how fisheries management options are influenced by climate changes, given national policies, the legal fishery framework, environmental legislation and national perspectives on integrated ocean management

3.6 elucidate the behavioural responses from different economic actors involved in Arctic fisheries, to ecosystem changes and policy interventions as results of climate change

3.7 map the distribution of marine mammal populations in the Arctic, and assess the influence from climate, and human activity, changes on traditional whaling

3.8 develop indicators for sustainable development in the Arctic fisheries sector, by emphasising the economic development which is subject to trajectory uncertainties.

Relevant news

  • Warmer climate creates new challenges

    11. May 2011

    What socioeconomic impact will rising temperatures in the Arctic and the additional melting of sea ice have? A research project will study what effect future climate changes will have on people and animals in the Arctic.

Project manager