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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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Climate change and the management of high seas, straddling and migratory fish stocks

In this chapter, impacts of climate change on high seas, straddling and highly migratory stock fisheries are discussed in the context of capture fisheries trends and socio-economic implications. Factors considered include impact pathways, impact effects, future impacts and relationships to other trends. The exposure and sensitivity of fisheries to climate change are considered in terms of “vulnerability” and “resilience”. Climate change “adaptation” and “mitigation” are highlighted, noting a need to explicitly account for uncertainty in available climate impact information and potential fisheries responses. Gaps in current knowledge of climate change impacts are identified for high seas, straddling and highly migratory fish stocks. A need for relevant institutions to provide anticipatory adaptation measures to minimise impact(s) is recognised. Consequently, increased environmental and fisheries uncertainty have serious implications for the management of climate-impacted fisheries.

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