The EU-funded ClimeFish project will co-create projections of fish production and distribution together with industry. The project will help ensure that future increases in seafood production occur in areas and for species where there is potential for sustainable growth.
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Against the backdrop of climate change and its threat to global seafood production, establishing sustainable growth across the sector now will help secure robust employment and long-term development in rural and coastal communities for future generations.
The ClimeFish project will address challenges in three blue growth sectors: marine aquaculture, marine fisheries, and lake and pond production. Some 16 case studies will cover single species distribution and production as well as multi-species interaction across seven habitats, reflecting a range of predicted temperature changes and a variety of potential threats.
The harmonised data will then be used to develop biological models using three climate change scenarios: a 2 °C increase by 2100 (optimistic scenario); a 3 °C increase (most likely scenario); and a 4 °C increase (worst case scenario).
The effects of these scenarios will be simulated using the different models and forecasts developed. ClimeFish will then make tentative projections of fish production and distribution based on the relationship between water temperature and population growth. These production scenarios will be used for socio-economic analysis by all relevant stakeholders, who will also identify potential risks and opportunities for the sector.
In collaboration with its international network of stakeholders, ClimeFish plans to develop early-warning methodologies (such as a traffic light system) for the sector, and to identify strategies that mitigate the risks and take benefit from any opportunities resulting from climate change.
Recommendations and guidelines on drawing up climate-enabled management plans using the ClimeFish Decision Support Framework will follow. The recommendations will be formulated as a low-level voluntary European standard and will be available through the European Committee for Standardization after the project ends to ensure the project results are used.