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Model Allows Scallop Industry to Plan for Impacts of Climate Change

Published on: 05/19/2015
Research Area(s): Coastal Change
Primary Contact(s): elizabeth.turner@noaa.gov

NCCOS-sponsored researchers have developed a user-friendly computer program to help manage the U.S. commercial Atlantic sea scallop fishery,which is threatened by progressively higher temperatures and ocean acidification.

Sea scallops can live up to 20 years and grow quickly for the first few years of their life. The largest scallop ever reported was about 9 inches in shell height, but they typically don't grow larger than 6 inches. (Photo credit Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, College of William and Mary. Text credit NOAA Fisheries)

Sea scallops can live up to 20 years and grow quickly for the first few years of their life. The largest scallop ever reported was about nine inches in shell height, but they typically don't grow larger than six inches. Credit: Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, College of William and Mary.

The Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) concurrently simulates ocean conditions related to temperature and ocean acidification, sea scallop population dynamics, and economic impacts on the scallop fishery. In the past, scientists studied each component separately, making it difficult to predict the full range of environmental change impacts on the sea scallop fishery as a whole.

In 2013, U.S. fishermen harvested 41 million pounds of sea scallop meats worth more than $467 million. (Credit NOAA Fisheries)

In 2013, U.S. fishermen harvested 41 million pounds of sea scallop meats worth more than $467 million. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

In time, model outputs will be posted on an interactive website where users can compare and contrast the effects of different management, environmental, and market scenarios. The model is described in greater detail in the online, open access scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The project is led by theWoods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in partnership with NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center and The Ocean Conservancy, and was funded by NCCOS and the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program.

For more information, contact Elizabeth.Turner@noaa.gov.

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