Adaptation of Commonwealth fisheries management to climate change

Project Number:



Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

Principal Investigator:

Ryan Murphy

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Environment, Industry


The existing research predicts that climate change will have both positive and negative impacts on reproduction, recruitment and distribution of biomass of Australia’s commercially important marine species. Many fishery stakeholders acknowledge that the issue of climate change should be a high priority issue for fisheries management. Current research highlights the potentially significant impacts of climate change on fisheries and fisheries management, but to date strategies for fisheries management to address climate change have been lacking. The current ability of fisheries management to cope with these changes is unknown and therefore must be assessed to test its resilience, ability to adapt and the changes that may be required. AFMA is a prime candidate for leading this assessment since it has substantive responsibility for those areas of the Australian fishing zone that are expected to be hot-spots for climate change effects, such as SE Australia, one of the fastest warming areas in the ocean. In addition, the issues of climate change are canvassed in draft government policies for fisheries and this project could form part of the response to those policy needs. To-date no jurisdiction in Australia has assessed the resilience of its management system to these anticipated impacts and it is likely to break some new ground in what may need to be done for management systems to effectively adapt to climate change and the options that may be available. Engagement with and participation from key fishery stakeholders is essential for this project to be a success and to assist in any subsequent fisheries management change processes. Overall, this project has the potential to benefit the marine ecosystem and fisheries stakeholders with a vested interest in climate change adaptation, to increase the benefits and reduce the risks. While the production end of the supply chain is often the focus, this project will also consider the supply chain risks, following approaches developed in recent FRDC projects (Hobday et al. 2015; Fleming et al. 2014; Lim-Camacho et al. 2015; Plaganyi et al. 2014; van Putten et al. 2015)


1. To assess how well the existing Commonwealth fisheries management framework will cope with climate change impacts.

2. To develop a methodology and approach for AFMA and other fisheries to adapt their regulatory environment to climate change impacts on Commonwealth fisheries.

3. To develop strategies and priorities to account for effects of climate change in the management of Commonwealth fisheries