Global fisheries economics in the face of change in climate

Climate change and changes in biogeochemical conditions of the ocean lead to changes in distribution of marine species and ocean productivity. These changes would affect fisheries, food security, livelihood of fishing communities and eventually the whole economy in different countries. This thesis uses simulation modelling to assess the direct impacts of change in physical and biogeochemical conditions of the ocean on marine fisheries and the socio-economic implications at both global and regional scales. I develop a new global database of fishing cost, and provide an overview of current fishing cost patterns at national, regional, and global scales. The outcomes lay the foundation for the subsequent economic analysis in the thesis, and should also be useful for other future fisheries economic studies. Using these results and other data from the Sea Around Us Project, I estimate the change in landings of over 800 species of fish within the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) under climate change scenarios based on dynamic bioclimate envelope model (DBEM), and an empirical model. About 75% of EEZs are projected to show declines in landings under the Special Report on Emission Scenario (SRES) A2. Most of them are in developing countries, which are socio-economically more vulnerable to climate change. In West Africa, which is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, our model projects that there will be a reduction in landings in the 2050s, with some countries experiencing declines of more than 50% under the “business-as-usual” scenario. This substantial decline not only affects the food supply and security in the region, but also has a negative impact on employment opportunities and the downstream economic impact on the whole society. I also analyze how change in climate and ocean acidity under scenarios of anthropogenic CO₂ emission is expected to affect the economics of marine fisheries in the Arctic region. My model only projected a slight decrease in catch potential of marine fish and invertebrates under the impact of ocean acidification in the 2050s. Future studies accounting for the synergistic effects among climate change, ocean acidification and other factors on marine ecosystems are needed.

Lam V. W. Y., 2013. Global fisheries economics in the face of change in climate. PhD Thesis, The University of British Columbia, 268 pp. Thesis.

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