Regional assessment

Climate change adaptation planning is underway in the Caribbean, and accessing quantitative information on climate hazards and impacts can strategically enhance this process (Thomas et al. 2019). As part of the Caribbean track of the Pilot Program on Climate Resilience a series of ecological and socio-economic assessment of climate change impacts on marine resources and the fisheries sector were undertaken between March 2018 and January 2019.

This project used a portfolio of ecological modelling approaches, simulation outputs and quantitative indices to assess climate risk, vulnerability and impacts of Caribbean Sea marine fish stocks and fisheries under contrasting greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The research generated current and projected indices of impacts (e.g., species invasion, extinction and turnover) as well as changes in maximum catch potential (MCP) at a basin scale and for important commercial species. Increasing emissions in the 21st century are projected to result in changes in ocean conditions that will impact marine biodiversity and catch potential throughout the region.

Impacts of climate change on fished species have direct and secondary economic consequences for both harvesting and post-harvesting activities in the fisheries sector. The project undertook top-down estimation of climate-related impacts on the fisheries sector directly through calculated changes to macroeconomic indicators and use of historical data to estimate the economic impacts from extreme events. It generated national-level estimates of current and projected economic output of the sector and welfare of consumers and producers due to reduced catch availability, shifts in the intensity of tropical cyclones and the impact of these economic losses on food security. Climate-induced changes in marine biodiversity and catch potential throughout the region have significant market impacts, including lower domestic demand, higher fish prices and reduced incomes.

Understanding how resilient seafood value chains could be as climate change intensifies, and what mechanisms and measures are necessary to build local adaptive capacity is critical to adaptation planning. The project used qualitative methods (literature review, key-informant interviews and focus-group sessions) to identify and assess enabling conditions for inclusive and responsive governing institutions across seafood value chains that contribute to conservation targets, food and livelihood security and commercial viability. Analysis and recommendations focus on fishing sites in two highly climate-vulnerable nations, Jamaica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), as case studies to understand the broader Caribbean context. Findings emphasize the synergies between adaptation planning and effective fisheries management.

Key references

Thomas, A., Shooya, O., Rokitzki, M. et al. (2019). Climate change adaptation planning in practice: insights from the Caribbean.