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China confronts the effects of climate change on fisheries

14 January 2019 | Mitigation

No nation on Earth is more central to the global seafood system than China. China’s influence on the production, processing, distribution and overall demand for seafood is unparalleled. Indeed, China alone is expected to account for around half of the growth in global seafood consumption over the coming decades.

This growing demand for seafood will require new solutions not only for managing how much fish is caught, but how to adapt as climate change begins to impact China’s ocean ecosystem.

As China confronts these impacts, it’s clear that global climate change is a critical stressor that threatens to undermine its hard work on fisheries reforms. China’s government and scientific community recognize this threat, and are beginning to address it. The challenge is not trivial, given that China’s coastline spans 18,000 km, stretching across diverse ecosystems from warm tropical to cool temperate seas.

China has made ambitious commitments under the 13th Five-Year Plan to improve fisheries management. These include improving the scientific foundation for fisheries management, monitoring fishing activity and catch, enhancing the responsibilities and incentives of fishing fleets and communities and strengthening protection of marine ecosystems.

To achieve these objectives, China is working to both learn from international experience and share its own experience by building international collaborations. These efforts are critical because China’s marine resources have suffered from a variety of impacts, including overfishing, pollution, coastal development and unchecked growth of aquaculture.

The revolutionary power of technology has come to define the Fourth Wave of Environmentalism currently underway, with networks, sensors and machine learning coming together to transform agriculture, water management, greenhouse gas emissions and more. Those committed to ocean stewardship are also embracing Fourth Wave innovation, and the workshop considered how satellites, micro-sensors, ecosystem models and other tools are helping to navigate our response to climate change.

The challenges outlined in the workshop certainly seem daunting. However, it was also clear that our scientific understanding has advanced considerably, and that there is a diverse and energetic community of science and management practitioners in China and across the globe working to meet those challenges.

The future of healthy, vibrant fisheries and the communities that depend on them, necessitates that we address the challenges of a changing climate in China and across the world.

 

 

Source: Environmental Defense Fund News