Predicting the impact of future oil-spill closures on fishery-dependent communities - A spatially explicit approach

Igal Berenshtein, Shay O'Farrell, Natalie Perlin, James N. Sanchirico, Steven A. Murawski, Larry Perruso, Claire B. Paris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Major oil spills immensely impact the environment and society. Coastal fishery-dependent communities are especially at risk as their fishing grounds are susceptible to closure because of seafood contamination threat. During the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) disaster for example, vast areas of the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) were closed for fishing, resulting in coastal states losing up to a half of their fishery revenues. To predict the effect of future oil spills on fishery-dependent communities in the GoM, we develop a novel framework that combines a state-of-the-art three-dimensional oil-transport model with high-resolution spatial and temporal data for two fishing fleets - bottom longline and bandit-reel - along with data on the social vulnerability of coastal communities. We demonstrate our approach by simulating spills in the eastern and western GoM, calibrated to characteristics of the DWH spill. We find that the impacts of the eastern and western spills are strongest in the Florida and Texas Gulf coast counties respectively both for the bandit-reel and the bottom longline fleets. We conclude that this multimodal spatially explicit quantitative framework is a valuable management tool for predicting the consequences of oil spills at locations throughout the Gulf, facilitating preparedness and efficient resource allocation for future oil-spill events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2276-2285
Number of pages10
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea 2019. All rights reserved.


  • fishery management
  • fishery-dependent communities
  • oil spill
  • risk assessment
  • social vulnerability
  • vessel monitoring system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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