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SFU study highlights importance of adaptive capacity for fishery-dependent nations

SFU researcher Nick Dulvy, a Canada Research Chair in marine biodiversity and conservation, has co-authored a new report published this month in the journal Fish and Fisheries.

Dulvy, together with an international team of biologists and geographers, studied 132 countries and their dependence on fish for protein and income, as well as their social and economic ability to adapt to climate change impacts.

Findings from the study identified 33 countries that are “highly vulnerable” to effects of global warming such as rising ocean temperatures, severe flooding, coral bleaching, increased coastal storms and pronounced changes in river flows. Some of these countries include Malawi, Guinea, Senegal, Uganda and Yemen in Africa, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Pakistan in Asia, and Peru and Columbia in South America.

Dulvy proposes that these countries be given precedence in efforts to help them adapt to climate change, noting they account for over 20% of the world’s fish exports: “They are not necessarily the places that will suffer the greatest climate impacts on their fisheries. Rather, they are countries where fish play a large role in diet, income and trade yet there is a lack of capacity to adapt to problems caused by climate change.”

According to Dulvy, “more work is needed to predict with greater precision the impact of climate change on fish-dependent populations, so that national governments and international agencies can help the most vulnerable societies to anticipate and cope with climate change.”

ACT’s first set of policy recommendations, on climate change adaptation and biodiversity, can be found on our website at http://www.sfu.ca/act/.

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