Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Socioeconomic resilience to climatic extremes in a freshwater fishery

September 7, 2022
Heterogeneity is a central feature of ecosystem resilience, but how this translates to socioeconomic resilience depends on people’s ability to track shifting resources in space and time. Here, we quantify how climatic extremes have influenced how people (fishers) track economically valuable ecosystem services (fishing opportunities) across a range of spatial scales in rivers of the northern Rocky Mountains, USA, over the past three decades. Fishers opportunistically shifted from drought-sensitive to drought-resistant rivers during periods of low streamflows and warm temperatures. This adaptive behavior stabilized fishing pressure and expenditures by a factor of 2.6 at the scale of the regional fishery (i.e., portfolio effect). However, future warming is predicted to homogenize habitat options that enable adaptive behavior by fishers, putting ~30% of current spending at risk across the region. Maintaining a diverse portfolio of fishing opportunities that enable people to exploit shifting resources provides an important resilience mechanism for mitigating the socioeconomic impacts of climate change on fisheries.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title Socioeconomic resilience to climatic extremes in a freshwater fishery
DOI 10.1126/sciadv.abn1396
Authors Timothy Joseph Cline, Clint C. Muhlfeld, Ryan P. Kovach, Robert Al-Chokhachy, David Schmetterling, Diane Whited, Abigail Lynch
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science Advances
Index ID 70236832
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center