Climate change impacts on tropical and temperate fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood security and implications – A review

Fish is an important source of animal protein for billions of people and in some tropical countries like Bangladesh, the Pacific islands, and the Maldives, fish provides more than 60% of animal protein supply. Climate change [the rise in temperatures (T°C), ocean acidification (OA), sea-level rise (SLR) and extreme events (EE)] is an additional threat and risk to world fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood security, in addition, to existing threats posed by other stressors. The T°C will have both the negative and positive effects on fisheries and aquaculture, of which, the temperate areas/countries will benefit, while the tropical regions/countries will be losers due to shifting in fish species from the tropical areas to the temperate areas to escape the warmer water. The T°C would cause coral bleaching and mortalities and may enhance seafood contamination (by algal toxins and metals). The OA would adversely affect many organisms that use calcium carbonate for their skeletons and would cause a decrease in abundance of commercially exploited seafood organisms (shellfish and finfish). SLR would cause salinisation of freshwater fisheries and aquaculture facilities and would damage or destroy many coastal ecosystems including mangroves and salt marshes, which are essential habitat for wild fish stocks. Climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of EE. Besides, EE would destroy seagrass and seaweed beds and mangroves (which are important nursery areas for fishes). The economic loss and impacts on fisheries, aquaculture and seafood security due to T°C, OA, SLR, EE could be substantial in both tropical and temperate areas/countries. This review reveals that fisheries in the least developed tropical countries/regions such as Bangladesh, the Maldives, the Pacific islands, and parts of Africa would be most vulnerable due to lack or limited resources, capacity and capabilities to adapt to climate change and high dependency on fish, fisheries, fishing and aquaculture as a source of food, animal protein, revenues, and livelihoods To achieve sustainability in fisheries and aquaculture in line with the new global sustainable development goals (2016-2030), it will be essential to identify appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures. Such measures may include promotion of climate-smart fisheries and climate-smart aquaculture, and conservation of seagrass and seaweed beds, salt marshes, and mangroves. Community awareness and education on climate change, an introduction of climate change courses in schools, colleges, and universities and incorporation of climate change risks in all the current and future development projects/plans would be vital to minimise threats and risks of climate change on fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood security.

Kibria G., Haroon A. K. Y. & Nugegoda D., 2017. Climate change impacts on tropical and temperate fisheries, aquaculture, and seafood security and implications – A review. Livestock Research for Rural Development 29(022):1-26. Article.

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