Building Climate-Resilient Seafood Supply Chains

A graph of sea surface temperatures in New england and the mid-atlantic bight, with future projections after 2016 (courtesy of noaa).

A graph of sea surface temperatures in New england and the mid-atlantic bight, with future projections after 2016 (courtesy of noaa).

Climate change (long-term trend) and climate variability (cycles) are a real and present aspect of fishing in today's environment. In truth, temperature cycles have always been something that fishermen contend with - but today's global supply chains and highly regulated operating environment make it much harder than it used to be for fisheries and seafood chains to adapt. Building greater adaptability into our seafood supply chains is an essential role that consumers can help play in imbuing greater resilience into New England's fisheries as they cope with climate change.

In the past, when one species has become scare, the market has adapted by shifting to imported fish with comparable taste and texture. Enmeshed within a global supply chain, consumer demand is static, and the rest of a product's supply chain, including the ecosystem it is sourced from, must shift to accommodate consumer expectations. But in a shorter, more localized, climate-adaptive supply chain, committed consumers understand that their expectations must shift to accommodate a changing local ecosystem. We are working with our partners across the region to imbue New England's seafood supply chain with this flexibility. 

 

In Summer 2017, Eating with the Ecosystem will partner with the Rhode Island-based, fishermen-led project Resilient Fisheries RI to host several public education events about climate-resilient fisheries and what it means to be an adaptive consumer in the Ocean State. Check back here for more details as we plan the specifics!