Marine adaptation plan to address climate change concerns
The Government pledged today to develop a National Adaptation Plan (NAP) dealing with climate change impacts on the marine environment.
The announcement, made by Marine Environment Minister, Richard Benyon, followed the release of data from the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) which focuses on how climate change is affecting fish and shellfish in British seas. MCCIP's report identified both opportunities and threats in the marine environment, linked to climate change. It also highlighted potential social and economic consequences of the changes which are taking place.
"Climate change is having a big impact on the distribution of fish stocks and this is going to present some significant challenges for policy-makers, fisheries managers and for the fishing industry itself," said Richard Benyon, adding that the new NAP would address key marine environment concerns.
The MCCIP report, released during the World Fisheries Congress in Edinburgh, identifies clear changes in the depth, distribution, migration and spawning behaviours of fish, many of which can be related to warming sea temperatures. It also found that cultivated fish and shellfish are both susceptible to climate change, although fish farming technologies are seen as offering good potential for adaptation.
The setting up of controlled or closed fishing areas, creating a type of protected area that could be adapted in response to climate change, was seen as a potential way to help protect commercial and vulnerable fish stocks.
On the plus side, the report found that recreational sea fishing, already an important socio-economic activity, might be positively affected by climate change, due to the increasing abundance of species that are of interest to anglers.