S117 The use of El Niño Southern Oscillation information in decision-making within the Monterey Bay wetfish fishing community

Sunday, 22 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Stacy E Aguilera, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL

The economically and culturally significant coastal pelagic species (CPS) of Monterey Bay, California, U.S.A. are sensitive to climate shifts, and occasionally experience dramatic population changes during El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. As El Niño forecasting and predictions become more accessible to a broader audience, the integration of such information into natural resource system management is expected to improve outcomes more effectively than in previous ENSO events. This study investigates the role of El Niño events within the Monterey Bay wetfish fisheries, how users and fishery affiliates find, use, and make decisions according to ENSO information that is available to them, and proposes potential regulatory and communication strategies to improve outcomes from resource users while maintaining sustainable fisheries. Forty-nine participants, including but not limited to fishermen, processors, managers, and NGO representatives, were interviewed in 2014 after a declared El Niño Watch and before the declared 2015-16 event by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Using a qualitative approach, interview data were analyzed and coded in NVivo 10 for emergent themes. Historical archives and current ENSO forecasts and observations were used to support analysis. I discuss three primary themes: the relevancy of a universal ENSO definition for local needs, the use of an official ENSO declaration as a trigger for specific actions, and user decision-making with ENSO information. This study proposes ENSO definition clarifications, considerations for appropriate regulatory triggers in this fishery, and the major gaps research and information outlets could consider addressing to better serve the resource user community.
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