The Economics of Adapting Fisheries to Climate Change

image of The Economics of Adapting Fisheries to Climate Change

Climate change is becoming more evident and, as it increases, will alter the productivity of fisheries and the distribution of fish stocks. From an economic point of view, the changes will have impacts on fisheries and coastal communities in different ways. These expected changes require adaptable and flexible fisheries and aquaculture management policies and governance frameworks. However, the forms of future climate change and the extent of its impact remain uncertain. Fisheries policy makers therefore need to develop strategies and decision-making models in order to adapt to climate change under such uncertainty while taking into account social and economic consequences. 

While most work on climate change in the fisheries sector has focused on fisheries science, this book highlights the economic and policy aspects of adapting fisheries to climate change. An outcome of the OECD Workshop on the Economics of Adapting Fisheries to Climate Change, held in June 2010, the book outlines the actions that fisheries policy makers must undertake in the face of climate change. These include: strengthening the global governance system; a broader use of rights-based management systems; ecosystem protection; industry transformation through the ending of environmental harmful subsidies and a focus on demand for sustainably caught seafood; and, in particular, using aquaculture as a key part of the response to climate change.



Chair's Summary

Recent scientific findings, including the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC, 2007) indicate that the global effects of climate change are becoming more evident. Climate change is likely to influence fisheries and aquaculture production in various ways. For capture fisheries, climate change affects fish productivity and distribution through changes in recruitment, growth rates and mortality rates, as well as in the migratory patterns of some stocks. From an economic point of view, these changes will result in losers and winners, between regions or countries as well as within national jurisdictions. With respect to aquaculture production, climate change may necessitate changes in the species composition farmed in some areas depending on tolerability of the species to temperature and other changes. Other possible impacts of climate change on aquaculture include changes in feed composition and supply as well as changes in the type, scope and extent disease outbreaks in fish farms. For both sectors, relocation of aquaculture production sites, wild harvest landing sites (e.g. ports), and fish processing facilities may be required due to extreme weather events, changing stock distribution and location relative to markets.


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