Friday, February 24, 2012

Pacific fisheries need tech to track climate impact

Johann Bell in Climate change could derail plans by Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to use fisheries and aquaculture to foster economic development and food security. Bottom-dwelling coastal fish are expected to be hardest hit. Under continued high emissions of greenhouse gases, stocks of these fish are estimated to decrease by 20 per cent by 2050 due to global warming and ocean acidification, which affect the fish themselves as well as the coral reefs that support them.

But much uncertainty remains about the impacts of climate change. And contrary to assessments for some other parts of the world, the projections for fisheries and aquaculture in the Pacific are not all negative. In particular, tuna stocks are expected to rise in the eastern Pacific, and increased rainfall is likely to improve the production of freshwater fisheries and pond aquaculture in the western Pacific.

Indeed, many communities could switch their fishing efforts to tuna that frequent coastal waters. By installing anchored fish aggregating devices (FADs) to temporarily hold tuna, small-scale fishers could access these valuable resources more easily.

Building networks of inshore FADs to increase coastal communities' access to tuna is an example of a 'win-win adaptation': it will help supply the additional fish needed by growing populations in ways that are likely to be favoured by climate change....

Nice picture, wrong ocean. Casting a net in Kerala, India, shot by Challiyil Eswaramangalath Vipin, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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