The livelihoods of millions of people who depend on fishing are at risk, according to new analyses and models published by United Nation’s FAO. Accordingly, by 2050 climate change will alter the productivity of many of the world’s ocean and freshwater fisheries, affecting the livelihoods of millions of the world’s poorest people.
Climate change is the culprit
These gloomy predictions are related to changes in water temperature, pH levels, and ocean circulation patterns, rising sea levels, and altered rain and storm patterns that will cause fish species to change their reproductory habits, coral bleaching, and more frequent diseases that affect marine fauna.
The estimates are contained in a 654-page global, regional and national analysis and information report released today by FAO, the most comprehensive publication to date on climate change and fisheries.
A series of case studies included in the report focuses on the challenges, as well as the adaptation solutions, in 13 major marine areas, ranging from the Arctic to the Mediterranean. If these measures are implemented correctly, the impacts of climate change can be minimized, experts say.
“The inclusion of adaptation measures in fisheries and aquaculture is currently hampered by the lack of specific analyses of the sector’s vulnerability to climate change, as well as the opportunities and responses available,” said FAO Director Jose Graziano da Silva. “This study will help countries to strengthen the resilience of fisheries and aquaculture-dependent communities to climate change and extreme events, which is a key element in achieving sustainable development without leaving anyone behind,” he added.
Ocean change scenarios
In a model included in the FAO report, fisheries production would be reduced by about 5 percent by 2050. Under another scenario, the decline could range from 7 percent to 12 percent by 2050.
Changes in catch levels will occur in part as a result of changes in the geographical distribution of fish species.
The most substantial declines are expected in the waters of tropical countries, mainly in the South Pacific, while in the higher latitude regions the catch potential is likely to increase. The report notes that even in areas where productivity will be negatively affected, fish catches could continue to grow if countries implement adequate adaptation measures and effective fisheries management regimes.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.