Document Type


Publication Date


Subject: LCSH

Resilience (Personality trait), Communities, Fisheries, Hurricane Sandy, 2012


Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Fishermen may be increasingly impacted by natural disasters, given sea level rise and the likely increased frequency and severity of storms associated with climate change. Planning for resiliency in the face of these disasters requires understanding the factors that influence fishermen’s capacity to adapt. The paper examines perceptions of adaptive capacity of New York and New Jersey commercial and for-hire fishermen one year after Hurricane Sandy. Subjective adaptive capacity to changes in the fishery in general and those caused by natural disasters was assessed. A comparison between commercial and for-hire fishermen revealed important differences and similarities with regard to attributes influencing their perceived adaptive capacity. While both groups show high levels of coping capacity in general, for-hire fishermen presented more confidence in their ability to obtain work and income outside the fishery while commercial fishermen were more confident in their ability to remain in fishing. For both groups, those that suffered more intense impacts from the storm had more negative levels of perceived adaptive capacity. Understanding the perceived adaptive capacity of commercial and for-hire fishermen can help researchers and policy makers better understand and address each sector’s response to impacts of future natural disasters and human driven changes.


This is the author’s accepted version of a work that was published in Global Environmental Change, and is posted with permission. The published version is found at



Publisher Citation

Seara, T., P. M. Clay, and L. L. Colburn (2016). Perceived adaptive capacity and natural disasters: A fisheries case study. Global Environmental Change 38: 49-57.