Brief on fisheries, aquaculture and climate change in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5)

Brief on fisheries, aquaculture and climate change in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5)

The FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department has prepared this Brief on Fisheries, Aquaculture and Climate Change in the AR5 to provide an entry point to the vast AR5 content specifically for those interested in the fisheries and aquaculture sector and its dependent communities who are directly and indirectly affected by climate change and variability.

This brief synthesizes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report’s (AR5) important knowledge on how climate change is already manifesting itself through the aquatic systems, what the future changes may be and their predicted impacts on food and livelihood security, marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture systems, and overviews AR5's information on implications of climate change and variability for capture fisheries, aquaculture and dependent communities in eight regions: Africa, Asia, Australasia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, Small Island States and Polar Regions. In this context, adaptation options suggested by the AR5 will be outlined for each. It concludes with a review of knowledge gaps from the fisheries and aquaculture perspective that could benefit from further IPCC efforts.

Catch potential of marine fisheries is predicted to increase in the mid- to high-latitudes and decrease in the tropical latitudes by mid-century. Ocean acidification, warming and decreasing oxygen levels will combine with other drivers to impact aquatic species and ecosystems. Risks faced by fisheries and aquaculture due to climate change will depend on local exposure to changes in the aquatic systems as well as the underlying vulnerability of the social-ecological systems. Without appropriate and timely adaptation measures that address climatic drivers as well as current non-climatic drivers (e.g. overfishing, pollution, poor governance), the sector’s potential to continuously contribute to food security and sustainable livelihoods will be at risk.
 
Preparing aquaculture and capture fisheries for the future requires additional knowledge on climate change implications and suitable adaption strategies for inland capture fisheries and aquaculture systems in particular, and the post-harvest sector in general. Further down-scaling of predictive models is needed at the subregional and local levels for targeted adaptation planning and policy support.
  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.