RECLAIM – Resolving Climatic Impacts on Fish Stocks

Background and Goals

Climate changes play in an important role in the development of marine fish stocks. It is therefore important to incorporate the possible influence of climate change into modern, ecosystem-based stock management. The basis for this is comprehensive knowledge of the interactions and effects of climate variability and fishery on marine resources.

In RECLAIM, academics from 9 EU countries studied how climate-related changes impact the development of the most important commercially used fish stocks in Europe. RECLAIM has pooled the latest knowledge of the climate-related influence on these populations and has used this knowledge to develop models to identify the most important processes driving changes.

The objective of RECLAIM was to develop and improve models to predict climate effects on marine resources. In addition to coming up with new findings on ocean ecology, this created a basis for reliable forecasts of further changes in commercial fishing and the regional fisheries industry.

Content time


Research area/region

  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • France
  • Great Britain
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
Natural spatial classification
  • coasts: North Sea-/Baltic Sea coasts
Spatial resolution 


Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

Possible climate change based on findings from the IPCC (3rd and 4th situation report); changes in salinity, pH value and water temperature based on global climate and circulation models.

Results include: Air and water temperature increases, changes in precipitation volumes (increase in Northern Europe and reduction in Southern Europe), and reduction in marine ice. Increased salinity in the Tropics due to higher evaporation will mean that more saline water will be transported northwards, leading to higher salinity in North East Atlantic regions, including the Barents Sea. In the Baltic Sea, salinity is decreasing due to increased precipitation. The higher CO2 concentration in the atmosphere leads to increased CO2 absorption in the sea, causing a fall in the pH value (acidification).

Parameter (climate signals)
  • Altered rainfall patterns
  • Higher average temperatures
Further Parameters 

Water temperature, salinity, pH value, precipitation

Further times 

Up to 2100

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

The results of RECLAIM are a comparative analysis of climate-related changes in the geographical distribution and productivity of individual species and selected fish populations and for the structure and function of marine ecosystems.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Not analysed: models developed for predicting climate effects on marine resources, with the results used to derive potential adaptation measures.

Time horizon
  • 2071–2100 (far future)


Funding / Financing 

EU in 6th general research programme

Project management 

Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies, IMARES, Wageningen, Niederlande


– Fisheries Research Services (FRS), Aberdeen, Großbritannien;

– Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Lowestoft, Großbritannien;

– Institut Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la mer IFREmer, Nantes, Frankreich;

– Institut für Hydrobiologie und Fischereiwissenschaft, Universität Hamburg, Deutschland;

– Danish Institute for Fisheries Research (DIFRES), Charlottenlund, Dänemark;

– Institute of Marine Research (IMR), Bergen, Norwegen;

– Stichting Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Onderzoek der Zee (NIOZ), Niederlande;

– Universität Bergen, UiB-GFI, Bergen, Norwegen;


IMARES – Institute for Marine Resources and Ecosystem Studies
PO Box 68
NL-1970 AB IJmuiden

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