Climate Change Adaptation for Caribbean Fisheries
With negative climate change impacts already obvious in the Caribbean, everyone involved in fisheries and aquaculture – from fisherfolk and managers to ministers – needs to act now and build on the work already underway to secure people’s livelihoods. Adapting to climate change in the Caribbean needs to be as widespread as its effects. This report card suggests a to-do list to cooperate and take action. The impacts of climate change on Caribbean fisheries are described in the 2017 Caribbean Marine Climate Change Impacts Report Card and reviews. In summary, Caribbean fisheries are under threat from changes in ocean currents, sea temperatures, salinity, pH and storms. Fish distributions are changing, and important habitats, such as coral reefs, are being lost, causing declines in fish numbers. Hurricanes and storms are compromising safety at sea, and increasing the risk to fishing gear, boats, fishing infrastructure and markets, with some fishers taking a long time to return to fishing after the most damaging hurricanes. These impacts could reduce the fish available for local consumption and for export. Fewer fish would increase conflicts between fishers (including recreational and industrial fishers), fishing communities, and States. For the growing aquaculture industry, changes in temperature, rainfall patterns, salinity, acidification and storms will directly impact aquaculture facilities and production. Supply chains, including fishmeal and fish oil, may also be affected. In the short-term, rising temperatures could increase yields, although this benefit may be offset by increased feed costs. In the longer-term, as farmed species reach temperature limits, sites may become unsuitable for some species, especially if fish diseases become more prevalent. This card explores what can be done to adapt to climate change and build resilience in Caribbean fisheries and aquaculture.