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Climate-Smart fisheries and aquaculture

Production et ressources

Annex 2.1 Overview of practical options for reducing vulnerability in fisheries and aquaculture

Impact area  

Potential responses

Capture fisheries

Reduced yield

Access higher value markets; shift/widen targeted species; decrease fishing capacity/effort; reduce costs/increase efficiency; diversify livelihoods, exit fishery

Increased yield variablity

Diversify livelihoods; implement insurance schemes; promote adaptive management frameworks

Change in distribution of stocks

Migrate fishing effort/strategies and processing/distribution facilities; implement flexible allocation and access schemes

Sea level change, flooding, and surges

New/improved physical defences; managed retreat/accommodation; rehabilitation and disaster response; integrated coastal management; early warning systems and education

Increased dangers of fishing

Weather warning systems; improved vessel stability/safety/communications, insurance

Social disruptions/ new fisher influx 

Support/develop local management institutions; diversify livelihoods

Climate influenced boom and bust cycles of freshwater & marine small pelagic stocks

Tailored management measures to capitalize on irregular abundance (e.g. dryland fisheries); protection of key brood stock dry season refuges habitats/spawning areas in freshwater systems


Damage to farming facilities and  loss of stocks due to extreme weather events

Improve farm siting and design; individual/cluster insurance; use of indigenous or non-reproducing stocks to minimize biodiversity impacts

Production  impacts from rising temperatures 

Better water management, feeds, husbandry; selective breeding/genetic improvements; adjust harvest and market schedules 

Production  constraints  due to water shortage/stress and drought conditions

Improve efficacy of water usage, including for crops used as aquaculture feedstuffs; shift to coastal aquaculture, culture-based fisheries; select for short-cycle production; improve water sharing

Changing  salinity from sea level rise and other circulation changes

Move systems for sensitive species upstream; introduce marine species or species with greater salinity tolerance; use hatchery seed, protect brood stock and nursery habitats

Eutrophication/upwelling, harmful algal blooms

Better planning; farm siting; regular monitoring; emergency procedures

Increased virulence of pathogens, new diseases due to stress and rising  temperatures

Better management and husbandry to reduce stress; biosecurity measures; monitoring; appropriate farm siting; improved treatments and management strategies; genetic improvement for higher resistance

Acidification impact on shell formation

Adapt production and husbandry; move production zones, species selection

Reduced availability fishmeal  and fish oil impacts supplies/price

Fish meal/oil replacement; better feed management; genetic improvement for alternative feeds; shift away  from carnivorous species; culture of bivalves and seaweeds

Post-harvest, value addition

Extreme event effects on infrastructure/ communities

Early warning systems and education; new or improved physical defences; accommodation to change; rehabilitation and disaster response

Reduced/ more variable yields, supply timing

Wider sourcing of products, change species, add value, reduce losses, costs; more flexible location strategies to access materials; improve communications and distribution systems; diversify livelihoods

Changing temperature, precipitation variability other effects on artisanal processing

Better forecasting, information; change or improve processes and technologies

Trade and market shocks

Better information services; diversify markets and products

Source: adapted from Daw et al., 2009; De Silva and Soto, 2009. 

Note: Note: Adaptations to declining and variable yields in capture fisheries may directly risk exacerbating overexploitation of fisheries by increasing fishing pressure or harming habitats 

Annex 2.2. Climate change impacts and response options in specific fisheries systems


Significance of system

Climate disturbance level 

- example issues (I)

and responses (R)




Inland/coastal fishing, usually traps, lines, gathering

Major global  importance for subsistence food and secondary income, primary income and livelihoods in a number of countries; All species targeted  in range of water bodies; Approx 10% global production, 200 million people US$5 billion or more

I - Changing species mix with differing tolerances; ecosystem disruptions; altered fishing conditions;

R - Adapt to catch different species; use different locations, timing, possible brood- stock/nursery areas

I - More flood and drought impacts; increased die-offs; some weather risks possible reduced access by poorer groups; less household food;

R - more marketing of output; possible stocking/restocking

I - Flood, drought, temperature and salinity impacts; losses of stocks in range of locations;

R - with fewer substitution options (species, location) for local beneficiaries,food security support measures may be needed; adjust management measures

Inland/coastal recreational fishing

Fishing for food and/ or leisure activity in many areas; strong economic multipliers in wealthier markets; Around 200 million people, US$30 billion

I - Changing species mix with differing tolerances; shifting locations

R - adapt to different practices, places, timing; adjust stocking/restocking; improve habitats; adjust management

I - Wider impacts;

R - more use of stocking; habitat modification; protection of key stocks; political influence to regulate, invest in ecosystem protection and/or improvement, reserve areas; reduce take for food.

I - Wide range of impacts; losses of stocks in specific locations; changes of use of key water areas  

R - greater development of designed/ managed fisheries; limited access to biodiversity reserves 

Small-scale fishing with passive gear - traps, gill nets, longlines

Significant global sector; mainly coastal; major source of market and domestic supply; low capital and energy needs; around 15% global output, 40 million people, US$25 billion

I - Shift of species mix, timing, locations

R - adapt gear, timing; access/ develop alternative markets; possibly adjust management (e.g. size restrictions, close seasons)

I - Larger disruptions to stocks, locations, timing; higher fishing risks; 

R - further adaptation/ development of gear, timing, access; possible advantages to those with greater research and development options; more use of management controls 

I - Further disruptions; higher fishing risks but low cost; ease of use of gear maintain its preferred usage; may become more significant in low-impact and fuel-efficient fishing 

R - further adaptation; shifting markets; more management controls 

Small-scale fishing with active gear - dredges, seines, trawls

Important globally; mainly coastal range for fish, shellfish species; key source of higher-value market supply; higher capital and energy needs; around 10% global output, 15 million people, US$15 billion

I - Changing species mix, timing and locations; more effort required per catch

R - adapt gear, timing; adjust management; reduce energy costs by improving returns

I - More disruptions to stocks; higher risks, poor catches and high cost may make some fishing unviable; more management limits

R - possible move to passive fishing options or need to develop alternative livelihoods

I - Further disruptions and higher risks of non-viability of some systems; greater pressure on management

R - alternative fishing options; develop higher value markets; move to alternative livelihoods

Commerical draftnet, long-line fishing 

Key pelagic and other fisheries/species activity in some regions, commonly open seas, international scope; around 1% global output, 0.5 million people, US$ 1.5 billion

I - Changes in distribution across wider zonal areas; more effort/time per catch

R - expand gear size; develop markets for bycatch 

I - Greater disruptions and unpredictability;

R - extend effort responses; improve stock monitoring/location options; move to higher values; improve bycatch options 

I - Further disruptions; greater chance of non-viability;

R - better targeting possibly smaller units, higher value and market quality; 

Commerical dredge, trawl fishing

Important demersal and shellfish species activity in many regions, more localized; around 5% global output, 1 million people, US$7.5 billion

I - Changes in species, timing, location; more effort/time per catch

R - adjust or develop gear, practices; add value to product; develop markets for bycatch

I - Greater disruptions of stocks, timing, location; extend responses

R - improve stock monitoring/location options; move to higher values; improve bycatch options

I - Further disruptions; greater chance of non-viability;

R - better targeting possibly smaller units, higher value and market quality

Commercial purse-seine fishing

Important for major pelagic stocks in key regions, mainly marine, highly efficient if effectively targeted; around 10% global output, 0.1 million people, US$0.1 billion.

I - Changes in distribution across wider zonal areas; more time to locate catch; possible dispersal; more time and effort per catch, but efficiency still relatively good; 

R - increase stock protection 

I - Further disruptions; stock unpredictability; dispersal problems;

R - improve stock monitoring/location options; possibly move to higher market quality and values

I - More extensive disrupt-ions, stock dispersal issues; 

R - increase stock monitoring/ location efficiency; move to higher value and market quality; greater chance of non-viability, capacity reduction;

Freezer/trawler /factory vessel fishing 

Linked to a number of commercial fishing types, may also take up small-scale fishing inputs, in many areas; around 1% global output, 0.1 million people, US$0.05 billion

I - Distribution and fishing activity changes

R - adjust operations for changing patterns of activity/catches; change trip length, landing locations

I - Wider disruptions of species/locations 

R - more flexible operations; further develop processing/product options; possible reduction in viability

I - Further disruptions for stocks and catch options, greater chance of non-viability

R - possibly aim for higher value and market quality; may need to decommission.

Notes Annex 2.3: 

* minor disruptions – relatively easily accommodated within normal pattern of operations, may merit some adjustments to reduce risks/impacts; 

** significant disruptions – sufficient in occurrence/magnitude to require adjustments outside the normal pattern of operations, but usually only requiring modifications to these 

*** major disruptions – occurrence and/or magnitude exposing the system to unsupportable levels of risk, imperative requirement for modifications, some but not all of which could be based on existing systems.

Annex 2.3 Climate change impacts and response options in specific aquaculture systems


Significance of system

Climate disturbance level

- example issues (I)

and responses (R)




Seabed based mollusc culture, artisanal and commercial

Traditional in wide range of coastal areas, some mechanized, household consumption or markets; around 2% global output, 1 million people, US$ 1.5 billion

I - Small changes in productivity, spatfall, substrate quality, disease and predator interactions. 

- adjust seeding locations and harvesting patterns; better health monitoring

I - Greater changes in productivity, substrate quality, ecosystems; some stocks less viable 

R - adjust locations; manage substrates; adjust seed options; change predator management, harvest patterns

I - Notable changes in productivity; greater damage risks; safety issues in some sites; changes in stock viability 

- adjust sites, practices; select better seed; improve value and returns; possibly shift to suspended culture systems

Commercial suspended mollusc culture

Expanded in coastal zones in many latitudes, commercial markets; around 3% global output, 0.5 million people, US$3 billion

I - Small changes in productivity, natural spatfall; more exposure risks; change in disease (including red tides) and predator interactions

R - slightly adjust locations; modify systems; put monitoring and early warning in place; alter management practices, harvest cycles

I - Greater ecosystem changes, extreme events, spatfall, disease and predator issues; higher risks; some sites less viable, others more so

R - Improve monitoring systems; strengthen farming systems; adjust locations, management practices; ensure reliable hatchery seed production, harvesting

I - Much greater ecosystem changes, damage risks, safety issues; some areas become unviable

- Move to new areas needed for production; strengthened systems; better management approaches; reliable seed production from hatcheries; insurance; ensure alternative livelihoods and options

Extensive warm-water coastal pond/lagoons

Traditionally unfed some fertilization, wild or stocked fry, traps or nets; some molluscs; around 0.5% output, 0.2 million people, US$ 0.5 billion

I - Slight changes in productivity, species, temp ranges, possible runoff, fertility; some disruption to natural spawning, algal biomass 

R - change harvesting; greater inputs/stocking, management; possible expansion with sea level rise

I - More changes, less predictability; runoff, salinity changes; possible anoxia, fish kills; other areas less productive; some damage risks

R - change harvesting; where feasible, greater management, stocking, small cages, other inputs; water exchange

I - Greater ecosystem disruptions; flood and storm damage potential; productivity risks; species changes 

R - change harvesting; if feasible greater physical protection; intensified management; small cages and other subsystems; water exchange 

Partially fed inland/coastal pond systems

Mainly inland, intensified with increased stocks and yields; range of practices and species mixes, water exchange, aeration; around 15% output, 1 million people, US$ 25 billion

I - Slight changes in temperature ranges, salinity, water exchange, productivity, species performance, disease risks; 

- adjust stocking/ feeding/harvest strategies; more water management /backup systems; monitor system/health more closely

I - More water quality changes, less stability; possible anoxia fish kills, disease and productivity loss; some damage risks

R - change stock/feed/ harvest strategies; more physical protection, water management, possible reuse; possibly intensify stocking, management; monitor environmental conditions and early warning systems 

I - More ecosystem disruptions; flood and storm damage potential; productivity risks

- if feasible to continue, increase physical protection; Improve monitoring and early warning systems; intensify water management, production; shorten production cycles; change species mix 

Integrated farm units

Usually inland ponds/paddies, with plants, animals; range of options; around 0.5% output, 0.2 million people, US$ 0.5 billion

I - Slight seasonal/ecosystem changes; marginal shifts in productivity; disease risks in some or all components

- adjust integration mix, possibly increase use; improve management

I - Greater changes, temperature and water balance; greater instability potential

- possible new aquatic/other species mixes, timing; consider wider options for adapting other systems; monitor environmental conditions and early warning systems

I - Larger disruptions; flood and drought risks

- possible relocation/reorganization, develop new components and markets; reduce crop cycle times; Improve monitoring and early warning systems

Completely fed inland/coastal pond systems 

Gradually intensified or purpose planned; highly stocked fish, shrimp, water exchange, aeration, treatment; around 3% output, 0.5 million people, US$ 5 billion

I - Temperature, salinity and other water quality instabilities; disease risks

R - better system management, backup systems; adjust species; possibly intensify and/or reduce crop cycles; monitor environmental conditions and early warning systems 

I - More challenging instabilities; greater infrastructure risks

R - modify structures; higher levels of feed and water management; possible water reuse; link with integrated systems; monitor environmental conditions and early warning systems

I - Greater risks of physical and ecological disruptions 

R - possible redesign /reconstruction/relocations; possible expansion in salinized land areas; improved monitoring and early warning systems

Intensive tank and raceway systems

Highly intensified, controlled, high water exchange, mainly hatcheries and high value fish, inland and coastal; around 0.05% output, 0.02 million people, US$.01 billion

I - Localized management issues of temperature and water supply

R - modify production cycles, feed regimes; more water treatment; better health and hygiene management; possible species and strain adjustments

I - Possibly greater challenges of water supply and quality

R - greater water( full recycle) and feed management; shifts in species/strains and timing of production cycles; less use for on-growing, mainly hatcheries and nurseries

I - Much greater potential disruptions/supply/quality risks

R - possible shifts in species/ seasonal cycles; full water recycle; flow-through on-growing less common. 

Intensive cage systems

Widespread globally inland and coastal, mainly fish, intensive fully fed, wide range of systems, species; around 5% output, 0.5 million people, US$10 billion

I - Temperature, salinity, oxygen level changes; possible algal blooms; pathogen interactions; marginally increased risks

R - better stock, feed and disease management; risk-based site selection, some relocations; monitor environmental conditions and early warning systems 

I - Greater range of ecosystem variability; higher risks; storm damage, losses.

- closer monitoring, local and system-wide early warning; change species and strains; short-cycle production; more relocations

I - Wider range of disruptive effects; some areas too risky unless very short-cycle, high value crops 

R - possible new areas in lower-risk zones with system wide risk reductions; improved monitoring and early warning systems

IMTA systems

Coastal, linking intensive fish cages/ ponds with molluscs and marine plants at range of scales; <0.05% output, 0.01 million people, US$ 0.001 billion

I - Temperature, salinity, oxygen level changes; marginally increased risks

R - Some adjustments to balance components, timing and outputs; ensure interacting component physically secure; avoid negative environmental feedbacks

I - Greater range of ecosystem variability; higher risks; storm damage, losses.

R - Further adjustments to component mixes, cycle times; more robust physical systems; possible relocations in some areas; also possible scope for expansion as risk-reduction strategy.

I - Increased disruptive effects

R - More targeted integrated design and component choice across a range of systems to manage range of risk and ensure resilience; may be expanded if these systems can be further developed.

Recycle aquaculture systems

Fresh or salt water, tanks or ponds with substantial water treatment/reuse; mainly hatcheries or high value species; 0.05% output, 0.01 million people, US$0.3 billion

I - Relatively small risks associated with intake water supplies, power and infrastructure security

R - may require system/operating adjustments; some open systems may use more recycle to stabilize water quality and supply.

I - Increased risks related water supply, power and infrastructure 

R - more open systems may turn into higher water reuse; higher external variability may require greater system control, backup provision, high recycle rates; trade-offs with energy costs likely to become more important

I - High risks related water supply, power and infrastructure

R - Increase recycle rates to maximize independence from external environment; external factors such as site, infrastructure security more important; possible relocations to purpose designed systems.

Annex 2.4 Climate change impacts and response options in specific post-harvest/production systems


Significance of system

Climate disturbance level

- example issues (I)

and responses (R)




Small landing facilities

Inland or coastal, various small structures, some with shelter, water, ice, fish handling areas, cool or cold storage, some with vessel/ gear repair/store; handling some 30% of global output

I - Possible access disruptions; risk of physical damage; breakdown of facilities; higher costs of protection, maintenance or repair; some may become non-viable if more distant from fishing areas

R - options to select and concentrate landings need to be investigated 

I - More significant disruptions with greater consequences; greater possibility of dislocation from fishing areas; higher costs and lower local value retention

R - Investment in facility upgrades would require effective climate-proofing

I - Potentially major dislocations from resource areas; greater physical risks; increasing potential for non-viable operations

R - may need specific investments in climate-proofed facilities and infrastructure networks

Fresh product supply systems

Range of inter-connected storage, handling, transport elements linking first sale to markets, retail outlets; around 30% of global supply

I - Resource access changes

R - some relocations, adjustments, potentially added costs; impacts of shifts to aquaculture.

I - Greater disruptions to supply and quality,

R - reorganization of elements; more aquaculture material; some systems may be less viable; more processing needed to protect quality 

I - Further extension of disruptions

R - need for relocation, re-organization, changing product streams, markets, process options; more investment and competition impacts 

Small-scale drying/smoking activities

Primarily linked with artisanal fishing, simple racks, kilns, packaging, local transport; around 10% of global supply

I - Resource access issues; also water, fuel wood other inputs; unseasonal rainfall affects solar drying and salting

R - some shifts in location, markets; improved systems/operating procedures; covering of drying racks

I - Greater impacts in similar issues/themes

R - greater potential for change in locations, supply chains, impacts on producers and communities.

I - Further extension of risks and disruptions; greater livelihood impacts

R - options for improving markets, adding value, improving prices, more significant

Commercial port/handling unit

Larger, more developed, higher specification facilities for landing, marketing, distribution, normally in cold chain, with defined standards; services for vessels/ gear etc; around 70% of global output.

I - Risks of resource access/higher costs of supply, balanced by continued potential to add value, protect investment, maintain supply chain expectations; risks of physical damage and quality disruptions.

R - Aquaculture may gain in importance.

I - Greater risks of disruptions, non-viability, particularly from reduced throughput in multiple-sourced centres

R - possible greater aquaculture role; some relocations, or more flexible systems/operations; costs of improving infrastructure may need to be recovered

I - More extreme impacts of resource dislocation, physical risks 

R - potential shifts to vessel-based handling and processing, landing to less specialized centres; new, lower-risk centres may also develop, and the number of risks may decline

Commercial processing systems

Wide range of facilities operating to defined health/ hygiene standards meeting market needs; range of secondary products; around 30% of supply

I - Resource access and quality changes

R - some relocations, adjustments; potential added costs; possible shifts to aquaculture

I - More disruption to supply and quality; more aquaculture material; some systems may be less viable

R - need to develop wider range of products, by-products, other options

I - Further disruptions

R - need for relocation, reorganization, changing product streams, markets, process options; more investment and greater competition impacts 

Prepared food manufacturing and distribution 

Specialist food centres using/adding value to aquatic products, linking by range of transport to highly co-ordinated distribution systems

I - Resource access/quality changes; impacts on other raw materials

R - some relocations, adjustment; potential added costs; possible shifts to aquaculture; changes in product forms

I - More disruption to supply/ quality; more aquaculture material; some units may be less viable

R - need to develop wider range of products; adjust aquatic food content; create new markets

I - Further disruptions

R - possible need for relocation, reorganization, changing process options, product streams, markets; more investment and greater competition impacts