Report Cites Climate Change Challenges to Fisheries IndustriesCatch of the Week
A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has outlined the many challenges that fisheries industries across the globe face due to the continuing threat of climate change.
The OECD report said about 84% of warming due to climate change has been transferred to the oceans, which in turn is expected to severely impact fisheries and coastal communities in the future.
Warming due to climate change can also exacerbate other environmental challenges such as ocean temperature rise, coral bleaching, and ocean acidification. These challenges are seen to have major impacts because three quarters of global fisheries’ production still come from the sea.
Overall, climate change appears to have impacts on fish ecology and fisheries, but the strength and direction (positive or negative) of the effects vary from place to place, the OECD said.
The report added that global warming will affect not just the atmosphere but the oceans as well, but how much, how rapidly—and even, for some areas, in what direction—is unclear.
In fact, even if global average temperature is rising, it will not necessarily rise uniformly in every location, and what evidence there is indicates that some areas, such as the Arctic and sub-Arctic, are warming more rapidly than others.
The report further said the social and economic effects are less clear, but it is likely that “the economies of countries with the lowest levels of adaptive capacity will be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change on capture fisheries and less able to anticipate and capitalize on any advantages of climate impacts.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the direction and degree of the impact of climate change on marine and freshwater ecosystems, and the associated fisheries and fishing communities, the options for policy makers are relatively clear.
According to the OECD report, policy makers can respond by pursuing mitigation strategies (reducing CO² emissions), building socioecological resilience and capacity to enable fishing communities to cope with and adapt to the opportunities, challenges and potential dangers presented by climate change, and by integrating the management of natural resource sectors in a portfolio approach.
The OECD works with other nongovernmental organizations such as the Asian Development Bank to support programs for the protection and preservation of valuable marine resources across the globe.