Washington, Feb 7 (ANI): A new study has identified Pakistan and Bangladesh as some of the countries that are most economically vulnerable to the effects of global warming on fisheries.
The study, by a team of scientists at the WorldFish Center, the University of East Anglia, Simon Fraser University, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the University of Bremen, and the Mekong River Commission, is the first to identify individual nations that are "highly vulnerable" to the impact of climate change on fisheries.
It determined that with climate change threatening to destroy coral reefs, push salt water into freshwater habitats and produce more coastal storms, millions of struggling people in fishery-dependent nations of Africa, Asia and South America could face unprecedented hardship.
The authors of the report examined 132 national economies to determine which are the most vulnerable, based on environmental, fisheries, dietary and economic factors. ountries that need the most attention, they said, are those where fish play a large role in diet, income and trade, yet there is a lack of capacity to adapt to problems caused by climate change, such as loss of coral reef habitats to the bleaching effects of warmer waters and lakes parched by an increase in heat and a decrease in precipitation.
Both coastal and landlocked countries in Africa, including Malawi, Guinea, Senegal and Uganda, four Asian tropical countries-Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan and Yemen-and two countries in South America, Peru and Colombia, were identified as the most economically vulnerable to the effects of global warming on fisheries.
Overall, of the 33 countries that were considered highly vulnerable, 19 are already classified by the United Nations as "least developed" due to their particularly poor socioeconomic conditions.
The world's fisheries provide more than 2.6 billion people with at least 20 percent of their average annual per capita protein intake, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The "highly vulnerable" countries identified in the WorldFish study, which was funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), produce 20 percent of the world's fish exports (by value).
The researchers note that these countries should be a priority for adaptation efforts that will allow them to endure the effects of climate change and maintain or enhance the contribution that fisheries can make to poverty reduction.
According to Edward Allison, director of policy, economics and social science at WorldFish and the research paper's lead author, economically, people in the tropics and subtropics likely will suffer most, because fish are so important in their diets and because they have limited capacity to develop other sources of income and food. (ANI)