Skip to main content

Data for: Social-ecological vulnerability of fishing communities to climate change: a U.S. West Coast case study

Cite this dataset

Koehn, Laura et al. (2022). Data for: Social-ecological vulnerability of fishing communities to climate change: a U.S. West Coast case study [Dataset]. Dryad.


Climate change is already impacting coastal communities, and ongoing and future shifts in fisheries species productivity from climate change have implications for the livelihoods and cultures of coastal communities. Harvested marine species in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem support U.S. West Coast communities economically, socially, and culturally. Ecological vulnerability assessments exist for individual species in the California Current but ecological and human vulnerability are linked and vulnerability is expected to vary by community. Here, we present automatable, reproducible methods for assessing the vulnerability of U.S. West Coast fishing-dependent communities to climate change within a social-ecological vulnerability framework. We first assessed the ecological risk of marine resources, on which fishing communities rely, to 50 years of climate change projections. We then combined this with the adaptive capacity of fishing communities, based on social indicators, to assess the potential ability of communities to cope with future changes. Specific communities (particularly in Washington state) were determined to be at risk to climate change mainly due to economic reliance on at risk marine fisheries species, like salmon, hake, or sea urchins. But, due to higher social adaptive capacity, these communities were often not found to be the most vulnerable overall. Conversely, certain communities that were not the most at risk, ecologically and economically, ranked in the category of highly vulnerable communities due to low adaptive capacity based on social indicators (particularly in Southern California). Certain communities were both ecologically at risk due to catch composition and socially vulnerable (low adaptive capacity) leading to the highest tier of vulnerability. The integration of climatic, ecological, economic, and societal data reveals that factors underlying vulnerability are variable across fishing communities on the U.S West Coast, and suggests the need to develop a variety of well-aligned strategies to adapt to the ecological impacts of climate change.


Much of the relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files, including values calculated in this paper such as ecological sensitivity, exposure, risk, and community exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability.

Certain data underlying the above values presented in the study are publicly available:

The summarized tables of climate variables experienced by species in their ranges (output from the climate models), needed to calculate ecological exposure, sensitivity, and risk, are available in this repository submission. The underlying physical and biogeochemical variables from the downscaled projections are available upon request from authors Mike Jacox at NOAA ( or Jerome Fiechter at UC Santa Cruz (

Confidential vessel-level landings data may be acquired by direct request from the Pacific Fisheries Information Network (PacFIN) ( or the Departments of Fish and Wildlife in California, Oregon, and Washington, subject to a non-disclosure agreement. Aggregated data used to determine top species landed for each community and percent revenue from each species for each community, and all associated R code will be publicly available at the time of publication at for R code and this repository submission for aggregated data (aggregated landings by ports can also be found here and go to “All species by port group”.

Values for community reliance (from NOAA California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment) and tables on pacFIN ports and species used, formulated from, are provided in this repository submission.

All code used in the analysis presented in this manuscript will be available on GitHub at at the time of publication.


Lenfest Ocean Program