The 31st Session of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) has emphasized that adaptation and mitigation of the impacts of climate change related to fisheries and aquaculture is an important challenge for the region. Fisheries and aquaculture in Asia provide considerable trade, employment and food security and some of the densest rural populations of the world are found on coastlines and floodplains of the region. Impacts from climate change such as increasing ocean acidification, shifting fish distributions and more frequent cyclones may increase the negative impacts on capture fisheries which are already at their limits through over exploitation, coastal degradation and pollution. Productivity and viability in aquaculture operations are also expected to be negatively impacted by factors including higher sea water levels, flooding, increased competition for water resources and disease occurrence patterns.
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Climate change is expected to contribute to increasing disruptions to aquatic and coastal systems upon which many millions of Asian people depend and it is vital that governments in the region understand the risks, identify vulnerable systems and develop adaptive strategies. Increased policy attention and financial resources for climate change adaptation and mitigation in the fisheries/aquaculture sector are urgently needed; and the marine fishery and aquaculture sectors need to be closely integrated into national climate change policies. It is therefore essential that the interactions between capture fisheries and aquaculture, along with other sectors such as agriculture and disaster management are integrated into the policy planning processes.
Despite the increasing global attention on climate change and projections of their likely effects, there remain serious gaps in coverage relating to the tropical regions of Asia and particularly the fishery and aquaculture sectors. This greatly constrains dialogues and effective planning for these important sectors in the region.
APFIC has developed a regional review intended to provide a preliminary insight into the current state of knowledge and indicate some likely implications for the region.