Climate Change, Acidification, & the Oceans

Pacific Islanders to face climate change challenges

Ahh the Pacific Islands…white sand, warm water, sun shining down….it sounds wonderful (especially for me – I’m having a ‘year of winter’ with my moving about).

But things are changing, and perhaps nothing is quite changing on a global scale quite like the climate.  If your a Pacific Islander, climate change is likely to be a huge problem.  It all comes down to reliance on local resources, and in many cases these resources come from local marine waters.  From a food perspective, Dr Johann Bell of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and colleagues from around the globe predict things are going to change a fair bit….here’s some highlights from the paper:

– Coral reef fisheries could decrease by 20% by 2050
– Skipjack tuna is may become more abundant in eastern Polynesia…but only because they have moved away from the western Islands where they currently support livelihoods
– Coastal aquaculture may become less efficient, but for the Islands with larger land mass, predicted increases in rain (and thus larger lakes, rivers, etc) freshwater aquaculture may become a more viable option.

Couple this with expected changes in sea level rise, adaptation will most certainly be needed if many of the Pacific Islanders are to face the challenges ahead.

For those with access to the journal ‘Nature Climate Change’ find the paper here

Image: Kelan Sing and Johnny Timotu, fishermen from Taremb, on Vanuatu’s Malekula Island, launch their outrigger canoe. Credit Tom Perry / World Bank / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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