Fisheries and Climate Change: Inevitability or Prophylaxis? Contributing to a Necessary Debate

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Abstract

Climate changes constitute the greatest challenge of this century due to the modifications they cause in weather and environmental conditions, and thus affecting the social and economic dynamics at multiple levels. Because all invertebrates and fish used for human consumption are poikilotherms, they are very sensitive to modifications in the environment, namely temperature and levels of oxygen. Phenomena like temperature rising, acidification, ocean stratification and changes in salinity are already perceptible and susceptible of causing severe consequences in aquatic ecosystems. Falling productivity, species migration and localized extinctions, as well as conflict over the use of scarce resources and increased risks associated with more extreme climatic events are among the possible consequences. Increased climate variability justifies a focus on the design and promotion of strategies to control the inherent risk and increase the resilience of marine and freshwater systems that strongly affect the livelihoods of millions of human beings worldwide. A multidimensional and holistic concept for the sustainable management of maritime and marine resources is indissociable from the unequivocal evidence of climate changes. Raising awareness of public in general and ocean stakeholders for the relevance of the topic at hand are assumed as key dimensions with the present article.

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