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The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Fishing and Agriculture in Tropical Coastal Communities

A study in partnership with the ICM-CSIC has concentrated on the effects of climate change on 72 coastal communities situated in the Indo-Pacific region, where agriculture and fishing are considered to be essential for local economies.

Coastal community economies in the tropics are highly dependent on agriculture and fisheries. Image Credit: Joshua J Cotten (Unsplash)

A new study appearing recently in the journal Nature Communications has considered the impacts of climate change on agriculture and fishing in coastal communities, which are highly reliant on such economic activities to uphold their economies.

According to the study performed, in which the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC) and a large group of experts from centers throughout the world took part, such communities could experience significant food losses as a result of climate change.

Large-scale anticipation has brought the issue to the table, even though the data offered so far has not been highly informative at the local level, where the socio-economic effects tend to be more gravely felt. 

This work proves the suitability of using predictive models at smaller scales to improve the management of local communities.

Marta Coll, Study Author and Researcher, Institut de Ciències del Mar

This is the first work that has helped evaluate the effect of climate change on coastal communities in the tropics, where they are experiencing more economic hardships compared to their counterparts in temperate zones.

Particularly, the study concentrates on 72 communities in five countries inside the Indo-Pacific region: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Tanzania, and the Philippines.

For the study to be performed, responses from over 3,000 face-to-face household surveys in the regions studied were examined. The outcomes were cross-checked with fish catches under both a high (SSP5-8.5) and a low (SSP1-2.6) emissions scenario and modeled projections of crop yield losses.

Consequently, the research group identified that while not all communities are exposed in an equal manner, both within and between countries, those having lower socio-economic status are specifically exposed to the most negative effects on natural resources due to climate change.

Fisheries, the Most Affected Sector

According to the study, the possible losses are higher for the fisheries sector compared to that of the agricultural sector. However, several communities surveyed would confront considerable losses to both fisheries and agricultural products under a high emissions scenario.

At present, the global average temperature is around 1.1 °C greater compared to pre-industrial times, and, if things continue as they are at present, a temperature increase of nearly 3 °C has been projected by the end of the century.

Journal Reference:

Cinner, J. E., et al. (2022) Potential impacts of climate change on agriculture and fisheries production in 72 tropical coastal communities. Nature Communications.


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