1 Abstract

Climate Vulnerability Analysis (CVAs) has evolved as a powerful means of systematically identifying the most imperilled nation, region, sector or species in terms of the ‘exposure’ to a stressor (climate change and/or hurricane events), the ‘sensitivity’ to that stressor and the ‘adaptive capacity’ when faced with potential threats. A number of different CVAs have been directed toward fisheries questions, but little attention has been paid towards identifying which coastal communities in Europe are most vulnerable, as manifested by climate change impacts on the fishing industry. In this study we have adapted the new IPCC WGII ‘risk’ framework, to assess the relative vulnerability by NUTS3 geographic regions. We consider ‘hazard’ as comprising the fisheries catch composition of associated fishing ports, scaled in accordance with the projected future change in seawater temperatures and an array of species-specific sensitivity traits (e.g. maximum temperature tolerance, reproductive characteristics etc) for key commercial fish and shellfish species. We consider ‘exposure’ as comprising the catch diversity and dominance in a particular geographic area, with the assumption that fishing ports which catch a wide diversity of different resources will be more resilient than a port focussed on one or a more limited portfolio of species. We consider ‘vulnerability’ as comprising descriptors of fisheries reliance (e.g. number of fisheries jobs, fisheries revenues etc.) as well as more general indices of regional adaptive capacity (e.g. poverty, income inequality, GDP etc.). The overall ‘risk’ scores for each NUTS3 region can be used by government and development agencies to identify where best to direct limited resources, in terms of enhancing resilience and strengthening adaptive capacity, whilst noting that different NUTS3 regions can emerge as high priority, for completely opposite reasons (i.e. depending on the aggregate make-up of individual hazard, exposure and vulnerability scores) requiring tailored solutions in each case.