Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

96 seafood. Even so, the state contributes only a small fraction—just 2%—of the global wild harvest. Alaska’s key seafood export products continue to face global competition, often from countries with significantly lower operating costs. Because Alaska harvests more wildcaught seafood than any other state, enforcement of sustainable practices is essential for maintaining not only marine populations but also the high value and quality of Alaskan seafood. Today, Alaskan ports are recognized for their quality of management, particularly in terms of efficiency. Several consistently rank in the top 10 ports throughout the US in seafood landed. Specifically, the Port of Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island since 1996 has consistently ranked as the largest port by volume. In 2018, Dutch Harbor produced an estimated catch value of $182M (NOAA, 2020). Praise for the management of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry is related not only to its high consistent catch volumes but also to the enforced sustainability of practices, such as rigid quotas set annually to ensure marine resources are renewably maintained for future generations. However, global warming and associated climate change have begun to introduce further challenges for fisheries management organizations. With these changes reaching far beyond the waters of Alaska, traditional sustainability practices alone, such as quotas and enforcement of ethical harvest practices, are not adequate. Changes in the waters of Alaska attributable primarily to temperature and acidification have led to, for example, species spreading beyond their natural habitats, influx migration of invasive species, and decreased population sizes for various species. Nevertheless, longterm prosperity is still possible for Alaskan fisheries, especially given there is time for proactive measures to safeguard specific fish populations and related ecosystems and the thriving industry and livelihoods that depend on them. If those measures are to succeed, however, management policy and regulation must transition to be more flexible and dynamic in order to better utilize pertinent data as they become available, thereby enabling Alaska’s fishing industry to adapt and flourish in the wake of climate change. Overview of Climate Change and Commercial Fishing The coastal waters of Alaska are rapidly changing, with temperatures increasing, sea levels rising, ice volume decreasing, and water chemistry evolving. In the marine ecosystem of Alaska, like in all others, the consequences of these changes will differ among species and behaviors. For example, it is expected that pollock and crab stocks will continue to decline and be more heavily impacted, whereas halibut biomass is expected to increase; and, for Pacific cod, the effects are expected to vary, including range extension and fluctuating stock levels (Johnson, 2016). Alaska has been particularly affected by climate change. The state has warmed more than twice as rapidly as most of the US. The US Environmental Protection Agency (2017) estimated that over the last 60 years, annual temperatures in Alaska have increased by 3.4ºF, with a notable difference of 6ºF when comparing winter temperatures in the same time frame. Industry stakeholders are aware that future negative effects are certain if ocean changes continue and are exploring how to adapt and anticipate predicted changes in populations and biodiversity more efficiently. Due to their local knowledge of coastal waters, Alaskan fishermen have made valiant proactive efforts, such as continual protest of mining and logging operations in critical marine habitats. Indeed, Alaskan fishing oversight bodies frequently have urged the Biden administration to incorporate the local knowledge of fishermen when drafting upcoming ecosystem-based approaches to climate change and fishery policy (Hagenbuch, 2021). This is not to say there is little promise for Alaskan fishing. So far, observable impacts of irreversible long-term climate change have been limited and somewhat mild. Nonetheless, warming is predicted to accelerate, resulting in subsequent water variations related to circulation. For instance, higher-temperature water has a lower capacity for dissolved oxygen, creating hypoxic ocean regions that tend to have depressed fish stocks. Warming waters have diminished sea ice volume in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea. Estimates suggest that by 2050 seasonal ice coverage will fall upwards of 40%. Reduction in sea ice not only contributes to sea level rise but also compounds water temperature