European fishing communities face their own specific climate risks – Eurasia Review
Of all European fisheries and coastal communities, those in the UK and the Eastern Mediterranean are at the highest risk of being affected by climate change. Marine researchers working in Denmark, the UK and the Netherlands this week published the results of an in-depth study in the leading scientific journal PNAS. To reduce climate risks, they advise regional policy makers to focus on sustainable and diversified fisheries management.
Across Europe, millions of people depend on fishing for their food and livelihoods and as an important part of their cultural heritage. In the near future, warming oceans will influence the local distribution and abundance of fish and shellfish species and thus have major consequences for local businesses.
Results at regional level
In a very large but nevertheless detailed new study, marine ecologists from research institutes in Denmark, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have investigated the climate risk of regional fishing communities. Scientists focused on the level of the fish population rather than just the level of the species. This resulted in an analysis by fleet and by region.
“One of our most important findings,” says co-author Myron Peck of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Marine Research NIOZ, “is that even in relatively wealthy countries like the UK there are large regional differences with some, but not all, local fishing communities, at high risk. Overall, the UK and countries like Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia face the highest climate risk Peck: “Communities can fish for a single species, which may decline in numbers due to climate change, or fisheries have only invested in one type of gear that cannot be used on different species of fish.
Solutions must be adapted
Different risk profiles for geographic regions in Europe highlight the need for very local adaptation approaches. John Pinnegar, climatologist at Cefas, Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, UK, says: “Climate risks vary both from country to country and within countries. Our research suggests that while some coastal communities and fishing fleets will find it relatively easy to adapt, others may find it much more difficult. “
In their study, the scientists suggest that countries like Denmark, Finland and Belgium should focus on greater fleet resilience, while the Baltic states should strengthen social safety nets through, for example, income support or alternative livelihoods. The UK and the countries of South East Europe will have to adapt in both areas.
Pinnegar: “Fleets and regions can be at risk for very different reasons, meaning that solutions will have to be tailored to take into account local factors and impacts, rather than trying to apply a one-size-fits-all approach. the situations. For example, in some regions, financial support can help to purchase new fishing gear and therefore target non-traditional species of fish or invertebrates such as squid. Elsewhere, interventions that improve fleet profitability or socio-economic resilience may be more effective. “
Implement the findings in policies
The scientists built the climate risk analysis by considering the climatic hazard, the exposure and the vulnerability of fishing fleets and coastal regions. “Together, these factors allow us to draw conclusions that can be implemented into policies,” says Peck. “In fact, our results will be reflected in the next IPCC climate opinion early next year.”
The researchers advise policymakers to focus on the sustainable management of living marine resources on the one hand, and the diversification of fishing fleets on the other. Strengthening these two factors would significantly reduce climate risks for local fishing communities. Pinnegar: “This research can be used by fishermen and fisheries managers to anticipate and plan future adaptation actions. “
Unique and holistic study
According to the researchers, their study is a unified and holistic approach to characterize climate risk, encompassing biological, economic and sociological aspects. Scientists took into account 556 fish populations and assessed the relative climate risk of 380 fleets and 105 coastal regions across Europe. Peck: “This is the first time that such a thorough assessment has been done for this part of the world. Although carried out by environmentalists, the study benefited from information gathered in the EU’s CERES and FutureMARES projects, a cooperation between a wide variety of sciences, from biogeochemists to economists and members of industry. some fishing.