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Although commercial fishing in Louisiana has been under intense pressure for many years, with increasing climate change and the rollout of new coastal restoration projects along the coast, fishing families are facing catastrophic changes in their industry and way of living. SFU CED and local partner Coastal Communities Consulting (a non-profit organization based in the Southeast Louisiana fishing community) are working together to deliver adaptation programming directly to families in the region to weather these changes.
Our pilot program focuses on testing the question: Does providing intensive family technical assistance and access to capital to commercial fishing families as a whole increase their long-term adaptation capacity? SFU CED is working with Coastal Communities Consulting to develop a family-based planning tool for working with 20 families on the coast, and then carry out a longitudinal study to understand the impacts of the planning and associated supports to implement those plans. Each plan delves into the economic opportunities of each family member in a household, and develops a plan for training, financing, and sometimes relocation to support their adaptation goals.
For the purposes of this program, we assume that adaptation for fishermen may involve a variety of outcomes:
- Diversification of work and entrepreneurial opportunities to complement reductions in commercial fishing opportunities and incomes;
- Improving harvesting and business methods to enable commercial fishermen to remain in the industry despite changes;
- Transition into new industries away from commercial fisheries.