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Marine farm. (Photo: Adam Watkins/The University of Adelaide)

Understanding marine aquaculture production potential under climate change proves essential

WORLDWIDE
Wednesday, September 12, 2018, 02:00 (GMT + 9)

Understanding the scale and magnitude of future increases and reductions in aquaculture potential is critical for designing effective and efficient use and protection of the oceans, and ultimately for feeding the planet sustainably, new study.

This study, called Global change in marine aquaculture production potential under climate change, addresses a missing component in food security research and sustainable development planning by identifying regions that will face potentially greater climate change challenges and resilience with regards to marine aquaculture in the coming decades.

Climate change is an immediate and future threat to food security globally. The consequences for fisheries and agriculture production potential are well studied, yet the possible outcomes for aquaculture remain a major gap in scientific understanding.

With over one-third of aquaculture produced in marine waters and this proportion increasing, it is critical to anticipate new opportunities and challenges in marine production under climate change.

The paper author, Halley E. Froehlich, and her team modelled and mapped the effect of warming ocean conditions on marine aquaculture production potential over the next century, based on thermal tolerance and growth data of 180 cultured finfish and bivalve species.

“We find heterogeneous patterns of gains and losses, but an overall greater probability of declines worldwide. Accounting for multiple drivers of species growth, including shifts in temperature, chlorophyll and ocean acidification, reveals potentially greater declines in bivalve aquaculture compared with finfish production,” these scientists point out.

This research was funded by the Zegar Family Foundation through the ‘Anticipating Climate Change Impacts on Ocean Aquaculture’ project.


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