Scientists call for improved climate data services to safeguard Bangladesh’s aquaculture sector

Responsible Seafood Advocate

Effective climate data services could help fish farmers reduce aquaculture losses caused by climate change, says new study

A study reveals that effective climate data services could help fish farmers reduce aquaculture losses caused by climate change.

A new analysis reveals that Bangladesh’s aquaculture industry suffered a U.S. $140 million loss over the past decade due to climate change, underscoring the urgency for improved climate data services.

According to the study published in Climate Risk Management, Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to extreme weather events predicted to increase in the near and distant future. The scientists found that effective climate information services could help fish farmers reduce aquaculture losses caused by such events.

“Climate information services are a potential climate-risk reduction approach that could de-risk the aquaculture sector by supporting fish farmers’ climate resilient decision-making and production management processes,” the study authors wrote.

Aquaculture and fisheries make up almost 26 percent of Bangladesh’s agricultural gross domestic product. However, fish farmers in Bangladesh are facing growing challenges from extreme weather events influenced by climate change. Unfortunately, there is a lack of data on climate variations – such as unpredictable rainfall, heat waves and cold spells – specifically in aquaculture. This makes it difficult to assess and implement effective climate risk management strategies for the industry.

According to the study, flooding is the most financially detrimental and frequently occurring hazard for hatcheries, open-water fish and shrimp. Over the period from 2011 to 2020, floods led to an approximate loss of 54,000 tons of aquaculture production, with an estimated value of $93 million. Cyclones ranked as the second most harmful, resulting in the loss of 12,000 tons of fish products, with a total estimated value of $24.8 million.

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The analysis suggested that countries in the global South have slowly adopted climate services for aquaculture. This delay is mainly due to a lack of awareness about the economic benefits of such services and the fact that these tools have historically focused more on crops. However, these services offer valuable climate data that can help make decisions related to adaptation, mitigating risks and managing uncertainties in aquaculture.

Read the full study here.


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