Adapting to climate change

Climate change is already happening. There is little doubt that global warming is occurring and at a greater rate than previously predicted (IPCC, 2007). The recent extreme weather disturbances like more frequent and stronger typhoons, long dry spells resulting to droughts, frequent heavy rains resulting to severe flooding are some of the phenomena that are linked to climate change. These changes are projected to impact broadly across ecosystems and economies, increasing pressures on all livelihoods and food supply chains, including those in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. The future food supply will be a central issue as food resources come under greater pressure, and the availability and access to fish supplies will become an increasingly critical development issue.

Climate change is a compounding threat to the sustainability of aquaculture development. Impacts occur as a result of gradual warming, the increasing acidity of the oceans and associated physical and chemical changes as well as from frequency, intensity and location of extreme climatic events. How these changes affect the aquaculture organisms in general, the different aquaculture systems and structures, the various support systems to aquaculture operations, and to the fish farmers, are largely unknown. The small-scale fish farmers in the region are highly vulnerable since they are dependent on their aquaculture operations for food and income. Urgent adaptation measures are required in response to the threats to food and livelihood provision due to climatic variations.

Climate change is already happening. There is little doubt that global warming is occurring and at a greater rate than previously predicted (IPCC, 2007). The recent extreme weather disturbances like more frequent and stronger typhoons, long dry spells resulting to droughts, frequent heavy rains resulting to severe flooding are some of the phenomena that are linked to climate change. These changes are projected to impact broadly across ecosystems and economies, increasing pressures on all livelihoods and food supply chains, including those in the fisheries and aquaculture sector. The future food supply will be a central issue as food resources come under greater pressure, and the availability and access to fish supplies will become an increasingly critical development issue.
Climate change is a compounding threat to the sustainability of aquaculture development. Impacts occur as a result of gradual warming, the increasing acidity of the oceans and associated physical and chemical changes as well as from frequency, intensity and location of extreme climatic events. How these changes affect the aquaculture organisms in general, the different aquaculture systems and structures, the various support systems to aquaculture operations, and to the fish farmers, are largely unknown. The small-scale fish farmers in the region are highly vulnerable since they are dependent on their aquaculture operations for food and income. Urgent adaptation measures are required in response to the threats to food and livelihood provision due to climatic variations.

 

Program Description

Activities of the program address the important issues and recommendations that were discussed during the ASEAN-SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security Towards 2020, Fish for the People 2020: Adaptation to a Changing Environment. Areas in the region that are vulnerable to climate change-related effects will be identified and the kind of probable impact(s) will be determined so that appropriate adaptive measures can be proposed. The fish farmers and the general public will need to have better understanding about climate change and its likely impact(s) to their livelihood opportunities for better preparation and adaptation. Since largely almost nothing is known how climate change will affect the biology of various species presently farmed and the various support systems, important data on this aspect will be generated to serve as basis for the mitigation measures that will be provided. Improvements and innovations on the different aquaculture holding systems and structures are also necessary in order to lessen and/or reduce the impact to fish supply production. How climate change affects important related ecosystems like the mangrove and coral reef ecosystems will be ascertained as well.

 

Program Goal

Identify the accompanying changes in the environment brought about by the changing climate that may affect the aquaculture sector, prepare the sector to the possible effects that these changes may have on aquaculture operations, minimize and mitigate the adverse impact(s) of climate change in aquaculture, and ensure the continued operation of all aquaculture production systems under changing climatic conditions.

 

Objectives

  1. gather scientific information on the susceptibilities of various aquaculture species to the combined effects of increasing water temperature and acidity;
  2. collect scientific data on the effects of climate change on production of natural live food organism for hatcheries and for pond culture systems;
  3. promote public awareness on the possible effects of climate change on aquaculture activities and to the fish farmers;
  4. assist other government agencies in the country and in the region in gathering baseline information on aquaculture areas/sites that are vulnerable to climate change effects;
  5. gather scientific information that will serve as basis for the formulation/design of alternative aquaculture systems that are adaptive to climate change;
  6. collaborate with other institutions in the country and in the region in gathering baseline information on the effects of climate change on mangrove and coral reef ecosystems; and
  7. explore potential adaptive measures to mitigate the impact(s) of climate change on the different aquatic farming systems.

 

2012-2016 Targets

Since this is a new program, scientific data are largely the expected outputs of the above activities. The research activities are based on the adverse effects of temperature and acidity on the biology of specific species presently farmed. The test parameters will be standardized to attain a uniform output in a realistic time frame.

The following information are expected to be known / generated:

  • Effects of higher water temperature (31oC and 33oC) and acidity on the reproduction of aquaculture organisms (rabbitfish, tilapia, abalone, giant freshwater prawn, shrimp, seahorse and mud crab), whether Kappaphycus or Gracilaria will continue shedding spores and develop normally with higher water temperature and lower acidity
  • Whether the embryonic and larval development of seawater fishes, abalone, shrimp,  seahorse and mud crab will proceed normally, and if fry of these species will survive in the hatchery when exposed to the combined effects of increasing seawater temperature and acidity.
  • Effects of combined factors (increasing seawater temperature and acidity) on reproduction and nutritional quality of microalgae (Nannochlorum, Tetraselmis, Isochrysis) and rotifers for use in hatcheries
  • Effects of increasing water temperature and acidity on ‘lablab’ (benthic algae) production in ponds
A lecture on the impacts of climate change on aquaculture production is part of every training course

 

The aquaculture sector is confronted with issues related to environmental protection and wise use of resources
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