Climate change is impacting sustainability of Omani fisheries and aquaculture

Business Wednesday 09/December/2020 16:08 PM
By: Times News Service
Climate change is impacting sustainability of Omani fisheries and aquaculture

Muscat: New research from HSBC and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Water Resources in Oman, has identified the potential impact of climate change on Omani fisheries and aquaculture.

Fisheries are recognised as one of the five sectors of Oman’s economy that can drive economic diversification, and ambitious investment plans amounting to OMR1 billion ($2.5 billion) have been proposed to rapidly develop Oman’s wild fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors. This research aims to identify the components of the fishery and aquaculture sectors that are most at risk of climate change, and the factors generating this risk.

The outcomes of this research, which was conducted by CEFAS, are intended to help facilitate the development of actions to ensure long-term environmental and economic sustainability in the fisheries sector in Oman.

According to the research, in general, the fisheries in Sharqiyah and Al Wusta show the greatest risk of climate impacts due to their low socio-economic resilience, dependence on limited species and high exposure to climate hazards.

Dhow fisheries, meanwhile, show greater risk than other fleet sectors due to due to socio-economic vulnerability, the sensitivity of the target species, limited diversity in catches and high exposure to climate hazards. The industrial fisheries, the most capital-intensive components of the fishery, display a relatively high level of resilience to climate impacts.

Elsewhere, shrimp aquaculture is identified as the sector of the developing aquaculture industry most at risk from climate change due to the vulnerability of shrimp ponds to coastal flooding and disease risk.

Melika Betley, CEO of HSBC Oman, said, “At HSBC, we recognise the potential impact of climate change and have set out an ambitious plan to unlock climate solutions through our partnership with a range of stakeholders including charities, governments, non-governmental institutions and policymakers. We commissioned this research to better understand the risks of climate change to this important sector of the Omani economy so that we can help build a more sustainable fishery and aquaculture sector in Oman, and protect the livelihoods, food security, revenues and investments associated with it.”

Tim Green, CEO of CEFAS, said, “The effects of climate change can already be observed in our oceans, and these impacts will increase over the coming decades. CEFAS, and its International Centre for Marine Climate Change, are actively working with partners across the world to understand these impacts, which can help to develop targeted adaptation actions to build resilience and avoid the worst impacts of climate change on society.”

The physical and chemical effects of climate change include rising sea temperatures, increasing CO2 concentrations, changing ocean currents, rising sea levels and more frequent tropical cyclones in the northern Indian Ocean.

The productivity of fish and invertebrate species can be affected by these changing environmental conditions. If temperature, oxygen concentrations or pH is outside of the optimum range for a species, its growth rate and productivity decline.

Read the full CEFAS report here: