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Impacts of climate variability and change on fishery-based livelihoods


  • Badjeck, Marie-Caroline
  • Allison, Edward H.
  • Halls, Ashley S.
  • Dulvy, Nicholas K.


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Badjeck, Marie-Caroline & Allison, Edward H. & Halls, Ashley S. & Dulvy, Nicholas K., 2010. "Impacts of climate variability and change on fishery-based livelihoods," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 375-383, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:34:y:2010:i:3:p:375-383

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    2. M. K. Das & P. K. Srivastava & A. Rej & Md. L. Mandal & A. P. Sharma, 2016. "A framework for assessing vulnerability of inland fisheries to impacts of climate variability in India," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 279-296, February.
    3. Bradley, Michael & van Putten, Ingrid & Sheaves, Marcus, 2015. "The pace and progress of adaptation: Marine climate change preparedness in Australia׳s coastal communities," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 13-20.
    4. Aguilar Ibarra, Alonso & Sanchez Vargas, Armando & Martinez Lopez, Benjamin, 2012. "Economic impacts of climate change on two Mexican coastal fisheries: Implications to food security," Economics Discussion Papers 2012-64, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Pienkowski, Thomas & Williams, Sophie & McLaren, Kurt & Wilson, Byron & Hockley, Neal, 2015. "Alien invasions and livelihoods: Economic benefits of invasive Australian Red Claw crayfish in Jamaica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 68-77.
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    8. Monirul Islam, Md. & Sallu, Susannah & Hubacek, Klaus & Paavola, Jouni, 2014. "Limits and barriers to adaptation to climate variability and change in Bangladeshi coastal fishing communities," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 208-216.
    9. Emdad Haque, C. & Julián Idrobo, C. & Berkes, Fikret & Giesbrecht, Dale, 2015. "Small-scale fishers’ adaptations to change: The role of formal and informal credit in Paraty, Brazil," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 401-407.
    10. Butler, J.R.A. & Skewes, T. & Mitchell, D. & Pontio, M. & Hills, T., 2014. "Stakeholder perceptions of ecosystem service declines in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea: Is human population a more critical driver than climate change?," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 1-13.
    11. Neil Holbrook & Johanna Johnson, 2014. "Climate change impacts and adaptation of commercial marine fisheries in Australia: a review of the science," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 124(4), pages 703-715, June.
    12. Morzaria-Luna, Hem Nalini & Turk-Boyer, Peggy & Moreno-Baez, Marcia, 2014. "Social indicators of vulnerability for fishing communities in the Northern Gulf of California, Mexico: Implications for climate change," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 182-193.
    13. Heenan, Adel & Pomeroy, Robert & Bell, Johann & Munday, Philip L. & Cheung, William & Logan, Cheryl & Brainard, Russell & Yang Amri, Affendi & Aliño, Porfirio & Armada, Nygiel & David, Laura & Rivera-, 2015. "A climate-informed, ecosystem approach to fisheries management," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 182-192.
    14. Forster, J. & Lake, I.R. & Watkinson, A.R. & Gill, J.A., 2014. "Marine dependent livelihoods and resilience to environmental change: A case study of Anguilla," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 204-212.
    15. Melissa Marschke & Ouk Lykhim & Nong Kim, 2014. "Can Local Institutions Help Sustain Livelihoods in an Era of Fish Declines and Persistent Environmental Change? A Cambodian Case Study," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(5), pages 1-16, April.
    16. Melissa Marschke & Gordon Betcherman, 2016. "Vietnam’s seafood boom: Economic growth with impoverishment?," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 1129-1150, August.
    17. Barbier,Edward B., 2015. "Climate change impacts on rural poverty in low-elevation coastal zones," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7475, The World Bank.


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