Publication Abstracts

Scherrer et al. 2020

Scherrer, K.J.N., C.S. Harrison, R.F. Heneghan, E. Galbraith, C.G. Bardeen, J. Coupe, J. Jägermeyr, N.S. Lovenduski, A. Luna, A. Robock, J. Stevens, S. Stevenson, O.B. Toon, and L. Xia, 2020: Marine wild-capture fisheries after nuclear war. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 117, no. 47, 29748-29758, doi:10.1073/pnas.2008256117.

Nuclear war, beyond its devastating direct impacts, is expected to cause global climatic perturbations through injections of soot into the upper atmosphere. Reduced temperature and sunlight could drive unprecedented reductions in agricultural production, endangering global food security. However, the effects of nuclear war on marine wild-capture fisheries, which significantly contribute to the global animal protein and micronutrient supply, remain unexplored. We simulate the climatic effects of six war scenarios on fish biomass and catch globally, using a state-of-the-art Earth system model and global process-based fisheries model. We also simulate how either rapidly increased fish demand (driven by food shortages) or decreased ability to fish (due to infrastructure disruptions), would affect global catches, and test the benefits of strong pre-war fisheries management. We find a decade-long negative climatic impact that intensifies with soot emissions, with global biomass and catch falling by up to 18±3% and 29±7% after a US-Russia war under business-as-usual fishing — similar in magnitude to the end-of-century declines under unmitigated global warming. When war occurs in an overfished state, increasing demand increases short-term (1-2 year) catch by at most ∼30% followed by precipitous declines of up to ∼70%, thus offsetting only a minor fraction of agricultural losses. However, effective pre-war management that rebuilds fish biomass could ensure a short-term catch buffer large enough to replace ∼43±35% of today's global animal protein production. This buffering function in the event of a global food emergency adds to the many previously-known economic and ecological benefits of effective and precautionary fisheries management.

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BibTeX Citation

  author={Scherrer, K. J. N. and Harrison, C. S. and Heneghan, R. F. and Galbraith, E. and Bardeen, C. G. and Coupe, J. and Jägermeyr, J. and Lovenduski, N. S. and Luna, A. and Robock, A. and Stevens, J. and Stevenson, S. and Toon, O. B. and Xia, L.},
  title={Marine wild-capture fisheries after nuclear war},
  journal={Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences},

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RIS Citation

ID  - sc08700a
AU  - Scherrer, K. J. N.
AU  - Harrison, C. S.
AU  - Heneghan, R. F.
AU  - Galbraith, E.
AU  - Bardeen, C. G.
AU  - Coupe, J.
AU  - Jägermeyr, J.
AU  - Lovenduski, N. S.
AU  - Luna, A.
AU  - Robock, A.
AU  - Stevens, J.
AU  - Stevenson, S.
AU  - Toon, O. B.
AU  - Xia, L.
PY  - 2020
TI  - Marine wild-capture fisheries after nuclear war
JA  - Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
JO  - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
VL  - 117
IS  - 47
SP  - 29748
EP  - 29758
DO  - 10.1073/pnas.2008256117
ER  -

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