Climatic projections of Indian Ocean during 2030, 2050, 2080 with implications on fisheries sector

Climatic projections are essential to frame resilient strategies towards futuristic impacts of climate changes on fish species and habitat. The present study projects the variations of climatic variables such as Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Sea Surface Salinity (SSS), Sea Level Rise (SLR), Precipitation (Pr), and pH along the Indian Ocean. Climate projections for 2030, 2050 and 2080 were obtained as MIROC-ESM-CHEM, CMIP5 model output for each Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) scenarios. Each climatic variable was assessed for any change against the reference year of 2015. The RCP scenarios showed an increasing trend for SLR and SST while a decreasing trend for SSS and pH. The study focuses on assessing the impacts of projected variations on marine and aquaculture system. The climate model projections show that the SST during 2080 is likely to rise by 0.69°C for the lowest emissions scenario and 2.6°C for the highest emissions scenario. Elevated temperature disturbs the homeostasis of fish and subjects to physiological stress in the habitat resulting in mortality. These thermal limits can predict distributional changes of marine species in response to climate change. Projections showed no significant changes in the pattern of precipitation. Changes in sea level rise and sea surface salinity reduce water quality, spawning and seed availability, increased disease incidence and damage to freshwater aquaculture system by salinization of groundwater. The results show that variation in SST and pH have a potential impact on marine fisheries while SSS, SLR, Precipitation affects the aquaculture systems. The synergic effects of climatic variations are found to have negative implications on capture fisheries as well as aquaculture system and are elucidated through this work.

Akhiljith P. J., Liya V. B., Rojith G., Zacharia P. U., Grinson G., Ajith S., Lakshmi P. M., Sajna V. H. & Sathianandan T. V., 2019. Climatic projections of Indian Ocean during 2030, 2050, 2080 with implications on fisheries sector. Journal of Coastal Research 86: 198-208. Article (subscription required).

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