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Understanding the limitations of current RFMO climate change adaptation strategies: the case of the IATTC and the Eastern Pacific Ocean

Brian Pentz () and Nicole Klenk ()
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Brian Pentz: University of Toronto
Nicole Klenk: University of Toronto

International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 2020, vol. 20, issue 1, No 3, 39 pages

Abstract: Abstract While Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) face many challenges in their pursuit of sustainable resource development, climate change is among the most pressing and least addressed. Research has identified a host of expected or ongoing physical, biological, ecological, and social impacts of climate change on the marine environment, creating a strong climate change adaptation imperative for RFMOs. Through a case study of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC), we describe two serious limitations of current RFMO climate change adaptation strategies: (1) a weakened efficacy of resource management and conservation policies caused by viewing climate change as a general climate stressor rather than a unique environmental challenge, and (2) a reliance on incremental policy reform, problematic because it may not enable a pace or scale of policy change proportional to the sustainable development challenges created by a rapidly changing ocean. We discuss the benefits and drawbacks of incrementalism and outline potential solutions to the environmental and structural challenges facing the IATTC and other RFMOs, including the concept of adaptation pathways.

Keywords: RFMO; Climate change; Adaptive management; Fisheries management; Conservation; IATTC (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1007/s10784-019-09452-9

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