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New Study First To Identify National Economies That Are Likely To Suffer Most As Climate Change Imperils Fisheries

With climate change threatening to ruin ocean reefs, push salt water into freshwater habitats and produce more coastal storms, millions of struggling people in fishery-dependent nations of Africa, Asia and South America could face unprecedented hardship, according to a new study published today in the February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Fish and Fisheries. The study by a team of scientists at 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 is the first to identify individual nations that are “highly vulnerable” to the impact of climate change on fisheries. Worldfish in a member of the CGIAR Consortium.
 
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Press Release [PDF 212 KB]            Abstract [PDF 47 KB]
 
Edward H. Allison, Allison L. Perry, Marie-Caroline Badjeck, W. Neil Adger, Katrina Brown, Declan Conway, Ashley S. Halls, Graham M. Pilling, John D. Reynolds, Neil L. Andrew and Nicholas K. Dulvy. 2009. Vulnerability of national economies to the impacts of climate change on fisheries. Fish and Fisheries. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
 
The article is available on request from WorldFish or Nicholas Dulvy, the corresponding author.
 
From the article:    

a) Fisheries sensitivity
Sensitivity and adaptive capacity of national economies to impacts of climate change on fisheries. (a) Sensitivity as a composite indicator of the fisheries dependence of countries (calculated from number and proportion of fishers, fisheries landings, relative value of fisheries-derived exports and per capita fish protein as a proportion of total animal protein consumed).


(b) Adaptive capacity
A composite index of the adaptive capacity of countries (calculated from indices of health, education, governance and size of economy). Colours represent quartiles with dark brown for the upper quartile (highest index value), yellow for the lowest quartile, and grey where no data were available. See full report page 14 for details.


Vulnerability of national economies of potential climate change impacts on fisheries (which integrates exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity) under IPCC scenario B2 (local development, lower emissions). Colours represent quartiles with dark brown for the upper quartile (highest index value), yellow for the lowest quartile, and grey where no data were available. See full report page 15 for details.

Fish and Fisheries: Access to this journal is available free online within institutions in the developing world through the AGORA Initiative with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the OARE Initiative (Online Access to Research in the Environment) with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Fish and Fisheries is published by Wiley-Blackwell.
 
Fish-dependent people of Bangladesh could see their coastal catch reduced as a result of predicted increases in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms. Bangladesh is one of the nations identified as highly dependent on fisheries along with Cambodia, DR Congo, Madagascar, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda.
 
Photo credit: Mark Prein
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In eastern and southern Africa, rising temperatures in freshwater lakes over the last century have already reduced fish stocks. Future climate change is expected to worsen this trend, while also leading to lower water levels due to decreased rain and increased evaporation.
 
Photo credit: Chris Béné