Fisheries are a cornerstone of the U.S. Blue Economy. They contribute to economic growth, the nation’s food security, and strengthen the social fabric of our coastal communities. They are, however, directly threatened by rapid changes in ocean ecosystems, further exacerbated by the limited use of climate data in fisheries decision making.
The OceanOKN project will accelerate the transformation of ocean data into information products and knowledge that stakeholders can use to improve ocean resource decision-making in a rapidly changing world. By bringing together climate, ocean, ecosystem, fisheries, and socioeconomic data with cutting edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques, we can dramatically improve future projections and decision-making for fisheries. Through iterative interactions with stakeholders, the OceanOKN team will design products that address key questions and help stakeholders integrate climate considerations into their strategic planning and risk management. We aim to make global climate information actionable at the regional and local scale to support: 1) sustainable fisheries management, 2) seafood business strategy, and 3) coastal community adaptation.
Our team will demonstrate the utility of this approach in the Northeast U.S., and build functionality for expansion to other regions and eventually, beyond fisheries. Here in the Northeast, we've experienced unprecedented changes in ocean conditions that are already impacting fish populations and challenging the decision-making process in fisheries.
The OceanOKN effort will enable us to address critical challenges:
- How do we sustainably harvest resources as they move outside historic ranges?
- How will we maintain profitable fisheries when fish productivity and distribution change?
- How do we support the resilience of our coastal communities in the face of rapid changes in the ocean and the economy?
The need to shift from backward to forward-looking decision-making involving forecasts and projections transcends the marine and fisheries space. Understanding how individuals and groups of humans make this transformation and the kinds of data, information products, and processes that enable these behavioral changes is a critical question facing society.
This project is made possible through the generous support of the National Science Foundation.
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