National Innovations on Climate Resilient Agriculture - Marine Fisheries

(ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute)

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CMFRI and Space Applications Centre (SAC) of the ISRO signed MoU


In India, marine fisheries sector has very important roles in augmenting food supply, nutritional security and livelihood for millions. With around a million directly involved in the capture fisheries domain, which is yielding close to 3.25 million tonnes annually, this sector has a lot to stake in the country's future natural resource management scenario. With the major share of marine fish catch coming from coastal and near-coastal waters, any environmental change in this zone would have debilitating impact on the sector in specific and the country's food basket in general. Such mutational aberrations in the environment are bound to affect the fish culture initiatives on the land too. Climate change is projected to exacerbate the availability or otherwise of the coastal fish stock and is bound to act as a major factor in triggering collapse of stocks in the near future. Warming of waters and sea level rise are two such pervasive factors, which may severely impact the fishery comprising both the resource and its users. The patterns exhibited by this environmental upheaval warrant concerted efforts by various domains to study, understand and counter them. Hence a multipronged research initiative has been set on motion focusing on all the natural resources including fishery resources.

Extension of boundary of Oil sardine (1961 – 2011)

Distribution and abundance of few pelagic fishes

In Indian sea in the capture fisheries sector, evidences are accumulating on:

  • Ocean acidification impacting early larval stages of shellfishes
  • Elevated rates of growth & decay of phytoplankton, altering the base of food web
  • Vulnerability of corals (resulting in demise in another 60 to 70 years) and other sedentary organisms (e.g. bivalves)
  • Adaptation of species with greater mobility
    • Extension/shift in distribution of fish horizontally and vertically    
    • Phenological changes like early maturation, less production of offspring etc.

In mariculture elevated water temperature and changes in salinity and pH are likely to:

  • Affect the spawning season, spawning strength and larval growth of candidate species
  • Seed and feed availability are also likely to be impacted

Despite the uncertainties and potential negative impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture, there are opportunities to reduce the vulnerability to climate-related impacts. As the first step, assessment of vulnerabilities, projections on fish distribution, abundance and catches need to be developed; and for mariculture, suitable candidate species, which would be benefited by elevated temperature, need to be identified for planning better management adaptations.


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