Many commentators warn about the wider social impacts of climate change, such as job losses, but the extent of those impacts is not always clear.
A new study of the New England fishing industry in the US (which employs 20 per cent of US commercial harvesters) concretely links climate shifts to employee numbers.
Over the last two decades, fisheries decline due to climate variability was responsible for about 16 per cent of the workforce losing their jobs. The findings can shed light on how climate impacts translate into livelihood losses in other parts of the world, including the Pacific, writes the author.
A study analyzing 1965–2017 North Atlantic Oscillation climate index data; 1971–2017 catch and revenue data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and 1990–2017 data of county-level fishing salaries, employment, and establishments in New England from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that climate variability between 1996 and 2017 is responsible for an estimated 16% decline in county-level fishing employment in New England, suggesting that climate may influence fishing employment at a regional level.