UN: Fishing Industry Vulnerable, Must Develop New Climate Change Strategies

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Oceana recently released two related reports on the worsening condition of the global fishing industry due to over-fishing and climate change.

Direct employment and jobs in related industries are important for developing nations—revenues from their fisheries exports earn have reached $24.6 billion annually.

Fishing-reliant communities in the developing world are extremely vulnerable to the effects of global warming, and authorities must do more to understand and prepare for the impacts, the reports warned.

Global warming and pollution have already modified the distribution of fish species. Sea-level rise, ocean acidification and changes in precipitation significantly affect wetlands, coral reefs and estuaries. Warmer water fish species are pushed toward the poles and are experiencing changes in habitat size and productivity.

Any decrease in the local availability of fish or increases in population instability pose serious problems for communities that are reliant on fisheries.

An estimated 43.5 million people are directly involved in capture fisheries and aquaculture, most of whom live in Asia.

Published: March 10, 2009