CLIMATE CHANGE AND FISHERIES
While agriculture and freshwater resources have been central in climate policy discussions, the effects of climate change on fisheries resources – and the implications for the health and livelihoods of fishers in the developing world – have largely been ignored. About 520 million people – around 8% of the world’s population – depend on fisheries and aquaculture as a source of protein, income or family stability. For 400 million of the poorest of these, fish provides half or more of their animal protein and dietary minerals.
Multi-agency Policy Brief for Climate Negotiators - A multi-agency policy brief (FAO, UNEP, WorldFish and others) titled Fisheries and Aquaculture in a Changing Climate addresses the implications of climate change on the fishers, fish farmers and coastal inhabitants who will face less stable livelihoods, changes in the availability and quality of fish for food, and rising risks to their health, safety and homes.
The brief describes how fisheries and aquaculture currently contribute to food security and livelihoods, and how these industries can build local resilience to the effects of climate change and offer mitigation solutions such as the inclusion of coastal mangrove conservation under REDD funding. (REDD - Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, a proposed mechanism that would reward countries with carbon credits for preserving their forest cover.)
From WorldFish and FAO
FAO, SPC, UNEP, the World Bank, WorldFish, and 11 other organizations warn the climate change negotiators and decision makers that millions of fishers, fish farmers and coastal inhabitants will experience heightened risks as a result of climate change.
Commentary by Nature Reports online
In a May 2009 commentary published by Nature, two of the world’s top fisheries scientists, Edward Allison of WorldFish and Nicolas Dulvy of Simon Fraser University, discuss the policy and research priorities that will help the fisheries sector to adapt to climate change as well as contribute to mitigation. They ask that aquatic production systems and the people dependent on them are appropriately included in climate adaptation measures considered for coastal zones, water resources management, agriculture, food security and rural development. Let them too have “A place at the table.” A series of policy and research priorities that will enable the fisheries sector to adapt to change as well as contribute to mitigation measures are put forward.
WorldFish Tackles Climate Change Issues
Also published this month is a WorldFish issues brief that illustrates how the center works with partners on a number of critical issues such as:
• assessing and mapping the vulnerability of fishery- and aquaculture-dependent people to the impacts of climate change, so that responses are appropriately focused:
• reducing people’s vulnerability to these impacts by identifying appropriate adaptation strategies;
• contributing to climate change mitigation by identifying ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon in aquatic production systems.
African and Southeast Asian nations face the double jeopardy of high vulnerability to climate effects in both their fisheries and agriculture sectors.
In an important study published in the February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Fish and Fisheries, a team of scientists from WorldFish, the University of East Anglia, Simon Fraser University, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the University of Bremen and the Mekong River Commission identify individual nations that are “highly vulnerable” to the impact of climate change on fisheries.