Projected change in global fisheries revenues under climate change

A recent paper (September 2016) in the scientific journal of the National Institutes of Health exploring the implications of climate change on global fisheries revenues provides some sober reading.

The report explores how fisheries revenues of maritime countries will be impacted by climate change as a necessary  “crucial next step towards the development of effective socio-economic policy and food sustainability strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change”.

The report shows “that global fisheries revenues could drop by 35% more than the projected decrease in catches by the 2050 s under high CO2 emission scenarios. Regionally, the projected increases in fish catch in high latitudes may not translate into increases in revenues because of the increasing dominance of low value fish, and the decrease in catches by these countries’ vessels operating in more severely impacted distant waters. It finds that developing countries with high fisheries dependency are negatively impacted.”

See: Lam, Vicky W. Y. et al. “Projected Change in Global Fisheries Revenues under Climate Change.” Scientific Reports 6 (2016): 32607. PMC. Web. 18 July 2017.

The significantly higher impacts on developing country revenues both for export and domestic consumption are documented in the paper and provide further evidence to the risks climate change creates for wild capture fisheries.

Coral Reefs and Ocean Health

Every so often, we run across reports that force us to stop and question our assumptions. Recent papers on global warming and the impact on oceans is a topic we have been monitoring for a couple of years now, with each new paper more depressing than the last.

It is our view that the role of ocean warming on stock health, and by extension, investment risks associated with stock health is either ignored or underestimated in most wild capture fisheries investment models.  However, with little information on which to base this assumption, it has been difficult to express this disconnect. Furthermore, most of the impacts are felt at the base of the supply chain  – by fishers and fishing firms.

A recent open paper in the journal Nature provides some interesting context. Titled “Coral reef degradation is not correlated with local human population density”, the research appears to “suggests that local factors such as fishing and pollution are having minimal effects or that their impacts are masked by global drivers such as ocean warming” and …. “findings indicate that local management alone cannot restore coral populations or increase the resilience of reefs to large-scale impacts. They also highlight the truly global reach of anthropogenic warming and the immediate need for drastic and sustained cuts in carbon emissions.”

If these findings are true – and we are unsure there is scientific consensus around them – it will have significant implications for wild capture value chains, local populations and for the range of local and community based efforts attempting to address overfishing through local management.

We would welcome comments or thoughts on this paper, which can be accessed at this link.

Bruno, J. F. and Valdivia, A. Coral reef degradation is not correlated with local human population density. Sci. Rep. 6, 29778; doi: 10.1038/srep29778 (2016).