Graham Sustainability Institute

Promoting Coastal Community Resilience through Alaska Fisheries Business Self-Assessments

August 2017

Climate change impacts on Alaskan coasts are occurring at a rate that is challenging the ability of resource-dependent businesses to respond and adapt. Climate change-induced threats to Alaskan fishing communities include changing oceanographic conditions of circulation and temperature, ocean acidification, and harmful algal blooms, as well as changing stream temperatures, turbidity, and nutrient conditions. Adequate resilience tools for local fishery-related businesses in Alaska have not yet been designed and implemented, which is a barrier to effective community resilience. These issues were identified in a series of climate resilience workshops the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve hosted for decision-makers in 2016 and 2017.

The goal of this project is to strengthen local fishery-related businesses, which buoy coastal communities in the face of natural hazards and disasters. This project will transfer a Resilience Index business self-assessment developed by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium. The project team and partners will collaboratively adapt the self-assessment for Alaska businesses using best available science and local issues. The project will convene a network of partners, including fishery industry leaders, resource managers, business owners, non-profits, and resilience experts, to identify and organize focus groups of target audiences. Multi-sector business resilience workshops will be developed using the updated Fisheries Resilience Index, and curriculum and publications will be distributed for additional training sessions in other Alaskan communities. By generating resources and tools for businesses, the project will increase the effects of the Kachemak Bay Reserve’s resilience efforts and further demonstrate the applicability of business self-assessments on impacted estuarine ecosystems and economies.


The University of Michigan Water Center and partners are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to implement the NERRS Science Collaborative, by coordinating regular funding opportunities and supporting user-driven collaborative research, assessment and transfer activities that address critical coastal management needs identified by reserves.

See: National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative