NOAA Fisheries Climate Science Strategy

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Strategy is designed to help regional fishery managers respond to climate change's effect on marine resources. The report identifies key objectives to increase production, delivery, and use of climate-related information to support the management of fish stocks, fisheries, and protected species. The Strategy outlines a clear path for NOAA Fisheries and partners to deliver the science enterprise, information and tools needed for climate-ready decision-making.

The Strategy is part of a proactive approach to increase the production, delivery, and use of climate-related information required to fulfill NOAA Fisheries mandates. The Strategy identifies seven common objectives to efficiently and effectively meet these information requirements and support climate-ready conservation and management of living marine resources.

The seven Science Objectives as detailed in the report are to:

1: Identify appropriate, climate-informed reference points for managing living marine resources (LMRs).

2: Identify robust strategies for managing LMRs under changing climate conditions.

3: Design adaptive decision processes that can incorporate and respond to changing climate conditions.

4: Identify future states of marine and coastal ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities in a changing climate.

5: Identify the mechanisms of climate impacts on ecosystems, LMRs, and LMR-dependent human communities.

6: Track trends in ecosystems, LMRs and LMR-dependent human communities and provide early warning of change.

7: Build and maintain the science infrastructure needed to fulfill NOAA Fisheries mandates with changing climate conditions.

To meet these seven priority objectives, NOAA Fisheries describes its needs to identify and fill information gaps; bolster ongoing efforts that are climate-relevant; explore novel ways to produce and deliver salient information; and develop climate-smart management approaches. Chapter 2 describes the information needed to address each of the objectives, plus the germane products, strategies, and delivery of each.

In addition to the seven priority science objectives, the Strategy also identifies a series of immediate and near-term actions that address urgent common challenges across the objectives and that would produce high and immediate returns on investment across multiple regions and mandates.

Three main products or activities consistently emerge across all seven priority objectives in the Strategy. These are highlighted as the prioritized actions that will best help NOAA Fisheries address its mandates in a more climate-ready manner:

1. Conduct climate vulnerability analyses in each region for all LMRs.
2. Establish and strengthen ecosystem and socio-economic indicators and status reports in all regions.
3. Develop capacity to conduct management strategy evaluations regarding climate change impacts on management targets, priorities, and goals.

The Strategy is designed to be customized and implemented through Regional Action Plans that focus on building regional capacity, partners, products and services to address the seven objectives. In 2015-16, NOAA Fisheries and partners will develop Regional Action Plans that identify strengths, weaknesses, priorities and actions to implement the Strategy in each Region over the next 3-5 years.

A report of Highlights from the Strategy is also available at:





Publication Date: August 28, 2015

Related Organizations:


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Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan


  • Ocean acidification
  • Permafrost melt
  • Socioeconomic
  • Water supply
  • Water temperatures

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