African Journal of Marine Science

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Climate change impacts on fisheries in West Africa: implications for economic, food and nutritional security

VWY Lam, WWL Cheung, W Swartz, UR Sumaila


West Africa was identified as one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in previous global analyses. Adverse changes in marine resources under climate change may pose significant threats to the livelihoods and well-being of the communities and countries that depend on fisheries for food and income. However, quantitative studies on the potential impact of climate change on fisheries and its subsequent impact on human well-being in West Africa are still scarce. This paper aims to assess the potential impacts of climate change on fisheries and their effects on the economics, food and nutritional security in West Africa. We use a dynamic bioclimatic envelope model to project future distribution and maximum fisheries catch potential of fish and invertebrates in West African waters. Our projections show that climate change may lead to substantial reduction in marine fish production and decline in fish protein supply in this region by the 2050s under the Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) A1B. Combining with economic parameters, we project a 21% drop in annual landed value, 50% decline in fisheries-related jobs and a total annual loss of US$311 million in the whole economy of West Africa. These changes are expected to increase the vulnerability of the region through economics and food security of West Africa to climate change.

Keywords: consumption, economic impact, employment, food security

African Journal of Marine Science 2012, 34(1): 103–117
AJOL African Journals Online