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.



From an ecosystem approach to assess climate change impacts on fisheries

Climate changes, such as global warming, decadal climatic regime shifts and interannual variability of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, can affect ocean conditions and thus affect the functioning of marine ecosystems as well as the distribution and abundance of fisheries resources. For example, there has been a trend of increasing sea surface temperatures in Korean waters, which has accelerated in the last decades. This recent warming trend is associated with a decline in cold-water species (e.g. walleye pollock) and an increase in warm-water species (e.g. common squid and bluefin tuna). It is also associated with changes in the distribution of fish stocks such as chub mackerel in Korean waters.


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