Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate threatens food security of Pacific islands

Date:
July 22, 2013
Source:
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
Summary:
Isolated in the middle of the ocean, Pacific islands rely closely on fishing for their economy and food security. But global warming could considerably reduce their accessible fish resources over the coming decades.

Isolated in the middle of the ocean, Pacific islands rely closely on fishing for their economy and food security. But global warming could considerably reduce their accessible fish resources over the coming decades.
Credit: © IRD / P. Laboute

Isolated in the middle of the ocean, Pacific islands rely closely on fishing for their economy and food security. But global warming could considerably reduce their accessible fish resources over the coming decades. This is what has been revealed in the journal Nature Climate Change, a study by the IRD, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and their French, Australian and American partners. According to IPCC climate forecasts, the quantity of coral reef fish, essential for the inhabitants' food, could drop by 20% by 2050.

Tuna fleeing eastwards

The scientists studied the response of the fish biomass to climate change in the Pacific, according to the forecasts of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC). Fishing for skipjack in particular, a fish in the tuna family making up 90% of catches, will be seriously affected. According to the models, the rise in surface water temperature, greater in the western ocean, will lead to the migration of tuna towards eastern Polynesia. Thus, catchment areas will move away from the Melanesian coast, the Salomon islands or Papua New Guinea. The exodus of tuna from the territorial waters of these countries will be a significant economic loss. Fishing rights paid by major international fisheries are an important source of revenue for these small insular Nations.

Coral ecosystems threatened

Along the coasts, the availability of coral fish is also under threat. Forecast ocean warming will increase coral bleaching leading to the death of numerous reefs. Population growth in these territories, preserved up to now, will also exert strong pressure on coral ecosystems -- exploitation, damage, pollution, etc. The recovery rate of coral reefs should fall from 40% throughout the Pacific today, to 10 or 20% in 2050. According to the study, this loss will reduce by 20 % the quantity of coral fish, an essential resource for local populations.

Sectors to develop

Some Pacific islands could however turn to aquaculture and fresh-water fisheries. On land, it's a whole different scenario. The expected rise in rainfall, increasing the surface of lakes, rivers, etc. by 10% by 2050, could be beneficial to these activities. In their study therefore, the scientists are encouraging the development of these sectors. To make up for expected losses, they are inviting governments to facilitate access of local fishermen to tuna resources -- for example by installing fish aggregation devices, sorts of floating pontoons that attract them, along the coast. Finally, other fish resources still unexploited, could be drawn upon, such as mackerel, anchovy, sardine, etc.

Minimising the risks by preserving reefs and maximising opportunities: a challenge that the public authorities of these small Pacific Nations will have to face in the coming decades to cope with climate change and the increasing need of their growing population for fish.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Johann D. Bell, Alexandre Ganachaud, Peter C. Gehrke, Shane P. Griffiths, Alistair J. Hobday, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Johanna E. Johnson, Robert Le Borgne, Patrick Lehodey, Janice M. Lough, Richard J. Matear, Timothy D. Pickering, Morgan S. Pratchett, Alex Sen Gupta, Inna Senina, Michelle Waycott. Mixed responses of tropical Pacific fisheries and aquaculture to climate change. Nature Climate Change, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate1838

Cite This Page:

Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). "Climate threatens food security of Pacific islands." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722123012.htm>.
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). (2013, July 22). Climate threatens food security of Pacific islands. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722123012.htm
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). "Climate threatens food security of Pacific islands." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722123012.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) — The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) — Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

Rare Whale Fossil Pulled from Calif. Backyard

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) — A rare whale fossil has been pulled from a Southern California backyard. The 16- to 17-million-year-old baleen whale fossil is one of about 20 baleen whale fossils known to exist. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins