Impacts of climate variability and change on fishery-based livelihoods
There is increasing concern over the consequences of global warming for the food security and livelihoods of the world's 36 million fisherfolk and the nearly 1.5 billion consumers who rely on fish for more than 20% of their dietary animal protein. With mounting evidence of the impacts of climate variability and change on aquatic ecosystems, the resulting impacts on fisheries livelihoods are likely to be significant, but remain a neglected area in climate adaptation policy. Drawing upon our research and the available literature, and using a livelihoods framework, this paper synthesizes the pathways through which climate variability and change impact fisherfolk livelihoods at the household and community level. We identify current and potential adaptation strategies and explore the wider implications for local livelihoods, fisheries management and climate policies. Responses to climate change can be anticipatory or reactive and should include: (1) management approaches and policies that build the livelihood asset base, reducing vulnerability to multiple stressors, including climate change; (2) an understanding of current response mechanisms to climate variability and other shocks in order to inform planned adaptation; (3) a recognition of the opportunities that climate change could bring to the sector; (4) adaptive strategies designed with a multi-sector perspective; and (5) a recognition of fisheries potential contribution to mitigation efforts.
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