Posts Tagged 'fisheries'

Future marine ecosystem drivers, biodiversity, and fisheries maximum catch potential in Pacific Island countries and territories under climate change


  • Under the RCP 8.5 scenario, tropical Pacific temperature will rise by ≥ 3 °C by 2100.
  • This is accompanied by declines in dissolved oxygen, pH, and net primary production.
  • This will lead to local extinctions of up to 80% of marine species in some regions.
  • 9 of 17 Pacific Island entities experience ≥ 50% declines in maximum catch potential.
  • Impacts can be greatly reduced by mitigation measures under the RCP 2.6 scenario.


The increase in anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last century has modified oceanic conditions, affecting marine ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide to society. Pacific Island countries and territories are highly vulnerable to these changes because of their strong dependence on ocean resources, high level of exposure to climate effects, and low adaptive capacity. Projections of mid-to-late 21st century changes in sea surface temperature (SST), dissolved oxygen, pH, and net primary productivity (NPP) were synthesized across the tropical Western Pacific under strong climate mitigation and business-as-usual scenarios. These projections were used to model impacts on marine biodiversity and potential fisheries catches. Results were consistent across three climate models, indicating that SST will rise by ≥ 3 °C, surface dissolved oxygen will decline by ≥ 0.01 ml L−1, pH will drop by ≥ 0.3, and NPP will decrease by 0.5 g m−2 d−1 across much of the region by 2100 under the business-as-usual scenario. These changes were associated with rates of local species extinction of > 50% in many regions as fishes and invertebrates decreased in abundance or migrated to regions with conditions more suitable to their bio-climate envelope. Maximum potential catch (MCP) was projected to decrease by > 50% across many areas, with the largest impacts in the western Pacific warm pool. Climate change scenarios that included strong mitigation resulted in substantial reductions of MCP losses, with the area where MCP losses exceeded 50% reduced from 74.4% of the region under business-as-usual to 36.0% of the region under the strong mitigation scenario.

Continue reading ‘Future marine ecosystem drivers, biodiversity, and fisheries maximum catch potential in Pacific Island countries and territories under climate change’

A perspective for reducing environmental impacts of mussel culture in Algeria


In Algeria, the Ministry of Fisheries and Halieutic Resources has designed a strategic plan for the development of marine aquaculture for the years 2015–2025, which aims at expanding the annual production of Mediterranean mussel from less than 150 metric tonnes year−1 in 2013 to 7600 metric tonnes year−1 in 2025. We used Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for evaluating the environmental impact of suspended mussel culture in Algeria and suggest management practices which could reduce it.


In order to estimate the current and perspective impact of this industry, we (1) applied LCA to one of the few farms currently operating in Algeria and (2) investigated two management scenarios for the farms to be established in the future in the same coastal area. The first scenario (Comp_S) represents the continuity with the current situation, in which each farm is competing with the other ones and is therefore managing the production cycle independently. In the second scenario (Coop_S), mussel farms are grouped in an aquaculture management area and shared the same facilities for post-processing harvested mussels before sending them to the market. The midpoint-based CML-IA method baseline 2000 V 3.01 was employed using SimaPro software. Furthermore, we carried out a Monte Carlo simulation, in order to assess the uncertainty in the results.

Results and discussion

The analysis focused on impact categories related to acidification and global warming potential. We took into account the energy consumptions (electricity and vessel fuel), the rearing infrastructure, including longlines, and a building for stabling, grading, and packing the mussel. Electricity contributes with 38.1 and 31.8 % respectively to global warming potential (GWP) and acidification, while fuel consumption contributes with 19.5 % to GWP and 31.8 % to acidification. Results of this work are compared with other LCA studies recently carried out in France (Aubin and Fontaine 2014) and in Spain (Iribarren et al. 2010c).


The LCA results show that important reductions in environmental impacts could be attained if the mussel farming activity would be operated according to the cooperative scenario here proposed. In this case, the environmental benefits will be a reduction of 3150 MJ and 156 kg CO2 eq per metric tonne of mussel produced, compared with the alternative scenario. The results of this study suggest that LCA should be applied to the seafood production sector in Algeria, in order to identify best management practices.

Continue reading ‘A perspective for reducing environmental impacts of mussel culture in Algeria’

Understanding the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on species, ecosystems, and fishing communities

Anthropogenic modifications of marine environments result from a variety of activities and have effects across social and ecological dimensions. Humans inhabit linked systems, where our actions such as resource extraction, pollution and development influence species in both direct and indirect ways and feedback to influence the human communities dependent on living marine resources. In order to understand the consequences of our actions and develop strategies to plan for future environmental change, we need a diverse set of tools able to incorporate various levels of complexity. This necessitates the improvement and modification of existing tools, development of novel approaches and unique applications of methods from across fields. In this dissertation I address the ways in which we can use and improve existing tools in ecology to advance our understanding and management of marine resources. In the first Chapter I introduce a method to incorporate life stage specific responses to a stressor, ocean acidification, to gain a broader understanding of population level vulnerability. In the second Chapter I extend this work to address ecosystem level change from ocean acidification in the California Current, using an ecosystem model to determine changes in biomass and fisheries catch. In the third chapter, I work to improve our understanding of how multiple stressors acting across life history can be magnified or mitigated, based solely on biological characteristics of populations. Finally, in the fourth Chapter I introduce ecologists and natural scientists to a broader understanding of research on risk in order to improve our methods for approaching ecosystem based fisheries management. My work spans ecological scales from populations to ecosystems and links between social and ecological systems.

Continue reading ‘Understanding the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on species, ecosystems, and fishing communities’

Can shellfish adapt to ocean acidification?

Scientists peer into oyster and clam genomes to help the shellfish industry prepare for a change in ocean chemistry.

In the Pacific Northwest, oyster aficionados have likely tasted Chris Langdon’s scientific handiwork. Since 1996, his Molluscan Broodstock Program at Oregon State University has been breeding plump, fast-growing, and hardy oysters as stock for the $250 million West Coast oyster industry. But in the past several years, the program has taken on an additional goal: identifying oysters that are more resilient to ocean acidification.

In 2007, oyster hatcheries in Oregon and Washington began experiencing massive die-offs of their larvae that continued for several years. Eventually, managers and scientists realized that the larvae were dying during periods of strong upwelling, when deep waters rich in CO2 and low in pH come to the surface. These deep waters were even more acidified than in the past because of the oceans’ growing uptake of CO2 as its levels in the atmosphere increase. (…)

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Les systèmes aquacoles face au changement climatique (in French)

L’aquaculture contribue aujourd’hui pour environ 50 % à l’approvisionnement en ressources aquatiques destinées à la consommation humaine et cette part est amenée à s’accroître à l’avenir compte tenu de la stagnation des captures liées à la pêche. Si un certain nombre de travaux ont été effectués en vue d’évaluer l’impact du changement climatique sur la pêche, peu a encore été fait dans ce domaine sur l’aquaculture. Cet article de synthèse tente d’identifier les défis auxquels l’aquaculture aura à faire face dans un contexte de changement climatique et propose des voies, à la fois adaptatives et innovantes, pour répondre à ces défis. L’article se focalise particulièrement sur six composantes de l’environnement susceptibles de subir des modifications sous l’effet du changement climatique et d’avoir un impact direct sur l’aquaculture : l’augmentation du niveau des mers ; la modification de la température ; les précipitations, les crues et les sécheresses ; la disponibilité en eau ; la dégradation de la qualité des eaux et enfin l’acidification des océans. Les impacts indirects concernent quant à eux principalement l’approvisionnement en farine et huile de poissons, constituants stratégiques des aliments destinés aux élevages d’animaux aquatiques, dont la disponibilité est dépendante des débarquements des pêches minotières, elles-mêmes sensibles au changement climatique. Face au changement climatique, deux stratégies sont possibles. La première, adaptative, consiste à mettre en œuvre des solutions qui permettent de prendre en compte les modifications du milieu (espèce adaptée, sélection de site) ; la deuxième consiste à imaginer des systèmes où les facteurs du milieu sont rigoureusement maîtrisés. Réciproquement, l’impact de l’aquaculture sur le changement climatique est évoqué. Enfin, les résultats d’une enquête conduite par la FAO en 2016 sur la situation des mesures prises dans diverses parties du monde pour faire face au changement climatique en matière d’aquaculture sont exposés.

Continue reading ‘Les systèmes aquacoles face au changement climatique (in French)’

The influence of ocean acidification on the economic vitality of shellfish hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest: A meta-analysis

Ocean acidification is the chemical process that results in the decrease of ocean pH levels. This decrease is caused by the diffusion of atmospheric carbon dioxide into Earth’s oceans. In other words, Earth’s oceans act as a carbon sink for atmospheric carbon. Prior to the industrial revolution in 1760, the ocean regulated the amount of carbon in earth’s atmosphere in a manner that did not threaten marine ecosystems. However, due to the increased combustion of fossil fuels due to rapid industrialization, urbanization, and population growth, oceans have begun to take up excessive amounts of carbon dioxide, resulting in an alteration of oceanic chemistry. The accumulation of hydrogen ions in ocean water due to the chemical reaction between carbonate carbon dioxide, and water have increased the acidity of the ocean. This has created a corrosive environment for shell-forming organisms that rely on carbonate for their exoskeletons. Many of these organisms, especially those in the Mollusca phylum, are commercially valuable. Ocean acidification has already begun its impact on the shellfish industry in the Pacific Northwest. However, if a business-as-usual scenario of carbon combustion prevails over use of alternative energy sources and mandatory terrestrial pollutant controls, the impact on shellfish aquaculture firms will only intensify and threaten the industry and its associated jobs and revenue. Local, state and federal authorities and agencies have begun to take steps to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification. Mitigation strategies are analyzed on their basis to effectively diminish the physiological and economic impact of ocean acidification on shellfish aquaculture operations. The question remains if these strategies will be able to successfully inhibit the ongoing process of ocean acidification, or simply just delay the impacts.

Continue reading ‘The influence of ocean acidification on the economic vitality of shellfish hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest: A meta-analysis’

Impacts of climate change on fish and shellfish in the coastal and marine environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

The commercially important fish and shellfish of Caribbean SIDS have been considered in four groups based on environment and following the typical division of fishery groups used in this region.

There is a dearth of research and long-term datasets on the impacts of climate change on Caribbean marine environments and the important fishery resources. Most research to date has been outside of the Caribbean and has examined the impacts of one or two stressors in short-term ex situ experiments which are unlikely to accurately reflect the true complexity of long-term in situ impacts of climate change in the region. There is a need to consider the combined effects of climate change stressors (direct and indirect) on both individuals and ecosystems, together with the synergistic effects of other chronic anthropogenic stressors in the region.

We consider the reef-associated shallow shelf group to be the most vulnerable of the four fishery groups given: 1) the already apparent negative climate change impacts on their critical habitats; 2) the overexploited state of most reef-associated fishery stocks; 3) the already degraded state of their nearshore habitats as a result of other anthropogenic activities; and 4) their biphasic life history, requiring the ability to settle in specific benthic nursery habitat from a pelagic early life stage.

We consider the most resilient group, over the short-term, to be the oceanic pelagic species that generally show fewer negative responses to the climate change stressors given that they: 1) are highly mobile with generally good acid-base regulation; 2) have an entirely pelagic lifecycle; 3) have less vulnerable reproductive strategies (i.e. they have extended spawning seasons and over broad areas); and 4) are generally exposed to fewer or less severe anthropogenic stressors.

This summary is provided with the following important caveat: “Any attempt to report on what has already happened to fish and shellfish resources in the Caribbean, based on direct evidence, will be strongly biased by the fact that there is a lack of monitoring and directed research examining fish and shellfish species-level impacts of climate change in this region. As such, any conclusions drawn from direct evidence alone will likely misrepresent the true nature and extent of the climate change impacts on the coastal and marine fish and shellfish resources within the Caribbean to date.”

Continue reading ‘Impacts of climate change on fish and shellfish in the coastal and marine environments of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS)’

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book