PML scientists have contributed to a comprehensive new report looking at how a changing climate is impacting upon fisheries and aquaculture.
The Impacts of Climate Change on Fisheries and Aquaculture is released today at the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) meeting in Rome, Italy. Created by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), it provides a unique overview for the millions of people who depend on these sectors for their health and livelihoods, while exploring ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change around the world. The paper has been put together by over 90 scientists from over 20 countries, bringing together a wealth of information and acting as a timely reminder about the importance of fisheries and aquaculture and their sensitivity to climate change.
Chapter 4 in particular features the work of PML. 'Projected changes in global and national potential marine fisheries catch under climate change scenarios in the twenty-first century' looks to the future to estimate how catches will change and be affected as the world warms. The team modelled fisheries’ catch potential while considering likely future scenarios, based on conditions of strong mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, or a ‘business-as-usual’ approach. They found that, by 2050, relative to the year 2000, the maximum catch potential is likely to decline by up to 5.3% in the reduced emissions scenario, and by almost 12% under the current rate of our gas emissions. If this rate was to continue without mitigation, catches are predicted to decline by almost quarter by the end of the 21st century.
Location, too, is likely to play a significant part. The projections picked out variation across different regions, with tropical countries expecting to show the largest decrease in catch potential, particularly in the South Pacific.
“The strength of this work is that it uses two completely different models of fish and fisheries,” said co-author Dr Jorn Bruggeman. “Both project that climate change will reduce global catches due to a drop in plankton productivity, with tropical regions being the worst affected. The fact that such different models agree suggests that a decrease in catch is likely. This underlines the need for measures to mitigate and adapt.”
For more information, you can read the full report here, and find some key statistics from it here.