Scenarios and models are invaluable tools to guide long-term strategic policies but although the degree of their realism has greatly improved, the Darwinian evolution of fish populations is still neglected in future projections.
Fish evolution and adaptation can mitigate the impacts of global change on fish populations and prevent their extirpation, an evolutionary rescue, but it can also push them towards evolutionary traps due to the erosion of their genetic diversity and thus reduction of their evolutionary potential and resilience.
SOMBEE addresses the role of eco-evolutionary dynamics and their consequences for the sustainable exploitation of fish resources in the future.
The key open question addressed is whether exploited fish populations have the capacity of adapting swiftly enough to global change to ensure their persistence and their sustainable exploitation.
Current ecosystem models explore how fish communities respond to global change by focusing on some key ecological processes (production, migration, physiology and trophic interactions), either alone or in some limited combination.
In addition, the coupling with a bio-economic model of fisheries will allow to project how eco-evolutionary changes impact fisheries economic profitability and sustainability.
For policy relevance and usefulness in decision-making, the scenarios and produced indicators will be co-designed in a participatory process with actors of the fisheries sector, namely representatives of the fishing industry, policy makers and managers, but also NGOs as well as national, regional, and international bodies responsible for providing science-based advice for fisheries management and resource conservation. Eco-evolutionary and economic future projections of fishery resources under climate change and fishing will be a key knowledge for the prioritization of adaptation measures for vulnerable small-scale fisheries.
SOMBEE is funded by BiodivERsA and the Belmont Forum under the joint programme "BiodivScen”.
Project duration: 2019-2022.