Small-scale fisheries adaptations in clime change hotspots
Anthropogenic climate change is increasingly threatening the global sustainability of small-scale fisheries (SSF) through its direct and indirect impacts on fish stocks and dependent livelihoods. However, despite the global importance of a sector that represents over 90% of the world’s capture fisheries and secures food and jobs for approximately 100 million people worldwide. Very few studies have summarized how these communities are currently adapting to climate change and how the geographical distribution of these responses correspond with areas of climate change exposure, also known as hotspots.
For this reason, Xochitl gathered a global database of 301 reported past adaptation responses of individual small-scale fishers to climate change and analyzed, together with Elena Ojea and Jorge García Molinos, the spatial agreement of the fishers’ responses with the estimated geographical location of global coastal climate change hotspot areas for the following hazards: long-term trends in sea surface temperature, cumulative intensity of marine heatwaves, frequency of tropical storms, and intensity of associated storm surges.
This study, published in Communications Earth and Environment, showed that most responses are being reported in the tropical regions while past climate change hotspots were mainly located in temperate regions and the Artic. Another finding was that the relative proportion of adaptive and transformative responses increased with climate change hazard exposure albeit no clear differences were found between them at the highest levels of exposure. The insights of this study highlight that the level of exposure alone cannot explain fisher’s responses to climate change and that other factors, such as the socioeconomic context of the coastal community and or the fisheries management systems, are critical to better understand fishers’ ability to respond to climate-driven changes.
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CATEGORIES: Clock, Elena Ojea, Future Oceans Lab, PhD, Research, Results, Xochitl Édua Elías Ilosvay