Impacts on Capture Fisheries and Aquaculture

Issue Date:
Sep 03 2008
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
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Over the last two hundred years the impact of industrial-scale fishing on fish stocks and their sustainability has been recognised and sought to be addressed or managed. This impact has resulted in some stocks collapsing, many being exploited at maximum or non–sustainable levels, with a subsequent increased focus on aquaculture as a source of fish protein to meet the demands of growing populations and economies. It is now recognised that these enterprises are also subject to the additional influences of climate change. Due to the coastal and high seas nature of our fisheries, the complexity and diversity of riparian, coastal and oceanic systems, habitats and populations, the perceived impacts from climate change on fisheries and aquaculture are less defined than in other industrial and community areas. Climate change induced impacts are anticipated to deliver both adverse and in some cases positive effects on fisheries and aquaculture. Potential adverse impacts include detrimental changes in oceanic physio-chemical characteristics (e.g. O2, temperature, salinity, total inorganic carbon content and acidification) and key oceanic circulation systems, declines in production potential of traditional species, abundance changes and altered trophic/ecosystem relationships, disturbance of reproductive patterns and migratory routes, increased vulnerability to diseases and pests, increased extreme weather events (e.g. storm surges and cyclones) and the provision of a competitive advantage for lower-valued and invasive species. Adverse impacts also include decreased community (industrial and artisan) economic benefit, the additional cost of relocation and relocation of production system and coastal infrastructure, and the recognised vulnerability of coastal and low-lying island nations to rising sea levels. Positive impacts include the potential for increased coastal nutrients and productivity from more intense upwelling systems, increased growth rates and extended growing seasons, increased competitiveness of high-valued less abundant and new profitable species, and climate change driven improvements in production systems, infrastructure and resource management strategies. The critical challenge for the world’s fisheries and aquaculture is to ensure they effectively contribute to the global response to address the causes of climate change, whilst embracing and adapting to opportunities that future change delivers.

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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