Oregon Business –
It was a surprise to many: A trade association representing crabbers in Oregon and California last year sued several big oil companies for contributing to climate change that has damaged their livelihoods.
The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association’s lawsuit, filed in the San Francisco County Superior Court in November 2018, alleges fossil fuel producers, including Chevron, Exxon Mobil and BP America, have knowingly contributed to climate change for decades, which has caused rising ocean temperatures, marine heatwaves and harmful algal blooms.
It was a bold move by the crabbers represented by the trade group, whose revenues dwarf those of Big Oil. It also illustrates how fisheries are at the forefront of climate change impacts. Their livelihoods are being eroded by warming ocean conditions caused by climate change. In the case of the crabbers, poor ocean conditions have led to prolonged closures over the past three years of Dungeness crab fisheries, the most valuable fishery on the West Coast.
But are commercial fishing businesses doing enough to combat the effects of climate change? Experts see problems with certain fishing practices that contribute to declining fish stocks and global warming. Some are calling for changes in these practices, as well as more savvy business management by fishermen to make them more resilient to the changing climate.