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COP25: The impact of climate change on African Blue Economy and fisheries will be serious

 Photo: RARE Conservation
Coastal fishers in Mozambique.
Photo: NDF
Fish catch.
Photo: RARE Conservation
Coastal fisher in Mozambique.
10.12.2019

A new study, co-financed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), presented today at a World Bank event at COP25, shows that the impacts of climate change on African marine fisheries will dramatically reduce fish catch.

Madrid 10 December 2019: Today at COP25 in Madrid, the World Bank presents the new report Climate Change and Marine Fisheries in Africa: Assessing Vulnerability and Strengthening Adaptation Capacity. The key findings show that the impacts of climate change on African fisheries will be serious, even under the most optimistic scenarios, and countries will be affected differently.
 
The study found that the ecological risk is very high for a large proportion of Africa’s coastal countries, including in the Gulf of Guinea, from Gabon to Guinea-Bissau, and along Africa’s east coast from Eritrea to Mozambique. The models forecasting the impacts of climate change on marine fisheries show that the maximum catch potential (MCP) will decrease by 30 percent or more as early as 2050 in many tropical West African countries.
 
For all African coastal countries, climate change impacts will require decision-makers to rethink their approach to fisheries management. Even under best-case scenarios, the models clearly show that the impact of climate change on fisheries will be serious, although not evenly felt. Stressed fisheries resources, for example, overfished stocks, are at additional risk from this additional impact.
 
Each country has different pathways to adapt to the impacts of climate change on its marine fisheries. An important distinction needs to be made between ecological risks, which, to a large extent, are beyond the control of African coastal states, and socio-ecological risks, which can be mitigated through a variety of management measures.
 
The economies of the Horn of Africa, parts of West Africa, and Nigeria are particularly at risk from climate change because of the importance of their fisheries. The impacts of climate change on fisheries and fishing communities are not a foregone conclusion; the extent of socio-ecological risk depends on a number of important variables, including the effectiveness of fisheries management measures. A second volume of the study will be published in 2020 and go more into details on what can be done to make African fisheries more resilient to climate change.
 
The report presentation at COP25 is part of the World Bank event: Fighting Poverty in the Face of Climate Change – What Role for the Oceans?  The event is led by Karin Kemper, World Bank Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy, with high-level representatives of the African Union Commission, FAO, National Geographic, and governments of Chile, Grenada and Seychelles. The report has benefited from expert input from international and African research and academic institutions. The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) co-finances the report with the World Bank. The report is available for download at the link below.

 
More information:
Report: Climate Change and Marine Fisheries in Africa: Assessing Vulnerability and Strengthening Adaptation Capacity.
NDF C70: Climate Change and Fisheries in Africa