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Effects of climate change on oceanic fisheries in the tropical Pacific: implications for economic development and food security


Bell, JD and Reid, C and Batty, MJ and Lehodey, P and Rodwell, L and Hobday, AJ and Johnson, JE and Demmke, A, Effects of climate change on oceanic fisheries in the tropical Pacific: implications for economic development and food security, Climatic Change, 119, (1) pp. 199-212. ISSN 0165-0009 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10584-012-0606-2


The four species of tuna that underpin oceanic fisheries in the tropical Pacific (skipjack, yellowfin, bigeye and albacore tuna) deliver great economic and social benefits to Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). Domestic tuna fleets and local fish processing operations contribute 320 % to gross domestic product in four PICTs and licence fees from foreign fleets provide an average of 340 % of government revenue for seven PICTs. More than 12,000 people are employed in tuna processing facilities and on tuna fishing vessels. Fish is a cornerstone of food security for many PICTs and provides 5090 % of dietary animal protein in rural areas. Several PICTs have plans to (1) increase the benefits they receive from oceanic fisheries by increasing the amount of tuna processed locally, and (2) allocate more tuna for the food security of their rapidly growing populations. The projected effects of climate change on the distribution of tuna in the tropical Pacific Ocean, due to increases in sea surface temperature, changes in velocity of major currents and decreases in nutrient supply to the photic zone from greater stratification, are likely to affect these plans. PICTs in the east of the region with a high dependence on licence fees for government revenue are expected to receive more revenue as tuna catches increase in their exclusive economic zones. On the other hand, countries in the west may encounter problems securing enough fish for their canneries as tuna are redistributed progressively to the east. Changes in the distribution of tuna will also affect the proportions of national tuna catches required for food security. We present priority adaptations to reduce the threats to oceanic fisheries posed by climate change and to capitalise on opportunities.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:animal proteins, economic and social benefits, economic development, exclusive economic zones, gross domestic products, processing facilities, Sea surface temperature (SST), tropical Pacific ocean
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Hobday, AJ (Dr Alistair Hobday)
ID Code:119380
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:44
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2017-07-31
Last Modified:2017-08-04

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