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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.

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Chinese Taipei: the impact of climate change on coastal fisheries

This chapter describes the impact of climate change on Chinese Taipei fisheries and introduces how Chinese Taipei addresses the challenges. Accelerating sea surface warming in the waters surround Chinese Taipei since the 1980s has not only diminished winter migratory fish stocks year on year, but also caused such changes as displacement of fishing grounds, species regime shifts and increased the vulnerability of the marine ecosystem. The marine ecosystem and fisheries have to face the problem of the expansion of fish stocks from the south and withdrawal of fish stocks from the north. In addition, the numbers of large fish at high trophic levels have decreased under pressures from several decades of fishing activity while small pelagic fish have shown a relative increase. As the numbers of small pelagic fish show much greater inter-annual fluctuations than those species of larger size or longer lifespan, this is likely to weaken the structure of marine food (fish) pyramid even more. Meanwhile, frequent extreme-weather events and climatic variability during the warming process will damage the Chinese Taipei fishery more. Under such circumstances, traditional fishery management measures will not be able to adapt to the problems caused by climate change. External precautionary and adaptation measures need to be introduced to reduce its impact.

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