El-Nemo SE: adaptation of fishing and aquaculture sectors and fisheries management to climate change in South Eastern Australia Work Area 4, Project 1 Development and testing of a national integrated climate change adaptation assessment framework

Project Number:



CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Principal Investigator:

Vincent Lyne

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





The eastern and south eastern Australian marine waters have been identified as being the most vulnerable geographic area to both climate change impacts and overall exposure in Australia. These changes are expected to have significant implications in the region. Information on physical changes expected in south-eastern Australia are currently available only through Global Climate Models that provide coarse spatial scales of 1-2 degrees (latitude & longitude). They currently provide almost no information at the scale of coastal upwelling, eddies and fronts which are important factors driving oceanic productivity. These models currently predict global changes in a range of physical variables both in the atmosphere and in the ocean for the 20th (hindcast mode) and 21st (forecast mode) centuries and are currently used in IPCC projections. Further refined modelling of physical drivers in this region is required to understand drivers at scales relevant to fisheries and aquaculture for driving productivity, distribution and abundance of species. While a number of national (Bluelink) and regional finer-resolution ocean models exist for the SE region (Baird et al model, NSW; Huon Estuary model, Tas; SAROM, SA), in this project outputs from two (Bluelink and SAROM) will be used to inform predictions on biomass, productivity and distributions of key fishery species.


1. To develop a integrating climate change adaptation assessment framework for fisheries and aquaculture, suitable for use regionally and at a national level.

2. To test and apply this framework in the south eastern region to evaulate adaptation response options for stakeholders (managers, fishers, aquaculturalists)

3. To assess the application of the framework to apply to other regions around Australia.

Final report- 2009-055-DLD -Development and testing of a national integrated climate change adaptation assessment framework

Final Report
Date Published:August 2012

Principal scientist: Vincent Lyne

Key words: climate change, adaptation, fisheries, Aquaculture, South East Australia, framework, co-management, risk

Summary: In situations where the future state of fisheries or ecosystems is difficult to predict through assessment models, the performance of management processes/policies and the speed with which changes can be measured and responded to, takes priority. Thus co-management approaches where operators are immediately reporting back the state of fisheries, habitats and general observations/trends is critical. These bottom-up processes must also feedback rapidly through to regional managers who will need to assess implications for broader ecosystem and cross-fishery impacts.

In applying the framework to the South East we identified firstly that the region is undergoing a Regime Shift Scenario. This assessment is supported by early anecdotal information since 1994 of species range shifts, further reinforced by the collective findings of researchers reported at a 2005 CSIRO workshop of oceanographic and ecological shifts, and more recent sightings, such as those reported from RedMap of species extending their nominal ranges.

The key findings for the South East are reported under the two phases of the study: (1) The vulnerability assessment of bioregions and species to determine projections of future impacts from climate change - using the Business As Usual scenario as a baseline, and (2) The adaptation assessment framework based on scenarios of climate change to identify regional and sector specific adaptations and linkages.