Report: Climate Change Could Devastate Major Mexican Fisheries

Published: Thursday, October 3, 2019 - 5:21pm
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Fishing boats at the docks in the small Mexican fishing town of San Felipe, Baja California, in October 2018.

Warming oceans could lead to serious impacts on Mexico's largest fisheries, in terms of volume, value and their ability to generate livelihoods, according to a study published Wednesday.

Climate change will negatively impact 84% of the 25 species analyzed in the paper co-authored by the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund; Mexico's National Institute of Fish and Agriculture in Guaymas, Sonora; and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Researchers found that catch numbers will decline dramatically — as much as 44% for some key species — over the next 30 year, unless fisheries adapt.

“National fisheries, in Mexico and beyond, need to prepare for a climate change-impacted world. Their livelihoods depend on it,” Laura Rodriguez, Environmental Defense Fund associate vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Oceans program and paper co-author, was quoted as saying in a news release. “In the case of Mexico, over 350,000 fishers and their families depend on fishing for their livelihood. The path forward must promote in-country measures to enable the preservation and reproduction of fish by adopting sustainable fisheries management through policy reform.”

The best chance of offsetting the impacts of climate change on fisheries is by investing in sustainable fisheries management now, according the paper, which presented a framework researchers say could be adapted globally.

However, the report found that Mexico hasn’t effectively implemented sustainable practices, and laws in top fishing states like Sonora don’t include adaptation strategies.

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