Uncertainty still remains in the understanding of climate change’s effects on aquaculture. (Photo: NACA/FIS)
Climate change the most serious risk to aquaculture: study
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 23:40 (GMT + 9)
A study conducted on the analysis of stakeholders’ and shrimp farmers’ perceptions in Vietnam’s Ca Mau and Bac Lieu provinces determined that they find climate changes the most serious risk.
Small scale farmers and other stakeholders involved in shrimp aquaculture have been suffering the effects of climate changes via frequent extreme weather events.
The present study run by the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) showed that shrimp farmers perceived too much rain, high temperature, canal/river/sea level rise, irregular weather and storms as their most serious concerns regarding monetary losses.
The study also ranked the risks of the different climate changes in Ca Mau and Bac Lieu provinces, prioritising the gravity of each of the climate changes that the farmers identified. At the top came high temperature and irregular weather (involving factors such as temperature and rainfall), followed by excessive rain, sea level rise and storms.
Over the years, shrimp farmers have begun to adapt towards more flexible and versatile methods by modifying their management practises to suit the changing climate, including water management, modernising the pond dyke and using lime, probiotics and other chemicals.
Moreover, various institutional measures such as provision of budget for climate change response for fish farming, aquaculture area planning and supervising, government financial support through loans, policy on mangrove planting for coastal protection and the creation of farmer associations have been set up to strongly assist farmers as they work to adapt to climate change and its myriad consequences.
According to the report, Vietnam is one of the five most vulnerable countries worldwide with regards to sea level rise and, in South East Asia, the most susceptible to the calamities spurred by climate change, such as powerful storms and cyclones along its coastline.
It noted that in 2006-7, Vietnamese aquaculture farms were hit by typhoons, floods and even droughts like never before, leading to steep losses in property and infrastructure.
Actively involving stakeholders in the impact assessment and development of scenarios to address climate change are necessary to protect the livelihoods of millions of Vietnamese small scale farmers.
Important steps to take are mapping impacts and vulnerability, coming up with adaptation strategies nationally and locally and boosting stakeholders’ capacity and institutions so they can manage the risks of climate change, the authors wrote.
Finally, the study concluded two points: that uncertainty remains in the understanding of climate change’s effects on aquaculture, and that government agencies and farmers both ought to be better equipped to tackle the future repercussions of the planet’s shifting climate.
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By Natalia Real