Lower-Income Nations Dependent on Coral Reef Fisheries Could be in Trouble

Written by on October 20, 2012 in Marine Life
A Liberian fishing vessel outside Monrovia, Liberia. Photo credit: Teresa Turk, NOAA.

A Liberian fishing vessel outside Monrovia, Liberia. Photo credit: Teresa Turk, NOAA.

A new study identified the countries most vulnerable to declining coral reef fisheries in terms of food security.  The study, co-authored by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), looked at 27 countries across the globe.

“The study identifies countries where climate change is likely to be felt first by threatening people that depend on fisheries,” explained co-author Tim McClanahan of the WCS.

“These countries are priorities for developing adaptation actions before the effects of climate change undermine their ability to feed themselves.  Some countries will be stressed by climate yet have enough capacity to make the adaptation, while others will not.  Making them realize this early will save considerable human suffering in the future.”

The researchers determined that Indonesia and Liberia were the most vulnerable, while Malaysia and Sri Lanka were the least.  They also found two common characteristics for vulnerability:

  1. low-income nations that lack the ability to adapt to other protein sources
  2. middle-income nations that, while more adaptable, are also more sensitive to climate change

The authors note that these nations need to begin promoting alternative protein sources now.  In their paper, they provided ideas to plan for alternative protein sources that could replace fish, including land-based farming of beans and poultry, or aquaculture.

Boats, some used for fishing, on a beach in Indonesia. Photo credit: NOAA.

Boats, some used for fishing, on a beach in Indonesia. Photo credit: NOAA.

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Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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