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01.08.2013 | Original Article | Ausgabe 6/2013 Open Access

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 6/2013

Climate change impacts on freshwater recreational fishing in the United States

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change > Ausgabe 6/2013
Russell Jones, Constance Travers, Charles Rodgers, Brian Lazar, Eric English, Joshua Lipton, Jason Vogel, Kenneth Strzepek, Jeremy Martinich


We estimated the biological and economic impacts of climate change on freshwater fisheries in the United States (U.S.). Changes in stream temperatures, flows, and the spatial extent of suitable thermal habitats for fish guilds were modeled for the coterminous U.S. using a range of projected changes in temperature and precipitation caused by increased greenhouse gases (GHGs). Based on modeled shifts in available thermal habitat for fish guilds, we estimated potential economic impacts associated with changes in freshwater recreational fishing using a national-scale economic model of recreational fishing behavior. In general, the spatial distribution of coldwater fisheries is projected to contract, being replaced by warm/cool water and high-thermally tolerant, lower recreational priority (i.e., “rough”) fisheries. Changes in thermal habitat suitability become more pronounced under higher emissions scenarios and at later time periods. Under the highest GHG emissions scenario, by year 2100 habitat for coldwater fisheries is projected to decline by roughly 50 % and be largely confined to mountainous areas in the western U.S. and very limited areas of New England and the Appalachians. The economic model projects a decline in coldwater fishing days ranging from 1.25 million in 2030 to 6.42 million by 2100 and that the total present value of national economic losses to freshwater recreational fishing from 2009 to 2100 could range from $81 million to $6.4 billion, depending on the emissions scenario and the choice of discount rate.
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