Map of the Bay of Bengal showing the model domain (shaded), the position of river mouths in the model and the Bangladesh Exclusive Economic Zone. Diamonds show the position of rivers whose flow and nutrient loadings to the sea.

How will climate change affect marine fisheries in Bangladesh?

Image courtesy of dreamstime_20094973_Dmitry Knorre 

Work by PML scientists has been published predicting how future climate change could reduce the productivity of Bangladeshi marine fisheries and how adaptive management scenarios may exacerbate or mitigate such impacts. 

The fisheries sector is crucial to the Bangladeshi economy and wellbeing, as well as playing a vital role as an important source of food, supplying 60% of the national animal protein intake to the 16 million Bangladeshis living near the coast, a population that has doubled since the 1980s. Any reduction in production in this sector will result in a loss in rural household income, threaten food and nutrition security and increase unemployment in the Bangladesh coast.

Using outputs from downscaled global climate models, scientists in this study simulated changes in physical and biochemical ocean properties, followed by projections of future fish production and catch potential up to 2060. This work showed that total production would be negatively affected by increases in water temperature.

However, work focused on two particular species important to the Bangladesh fishing sector showed that responsive management can mitigate these impacts.  The species studied were Hilsa shad (Tenualosa ilisha), which accounts for 11% of total catches, and Bombay duck (Harpadon nehereus), a low price fish that is the second highest catch in Bangladesh and is an important food source for low income communities. These species are highly overfished and the study showed that better management under a business-as-usual climate scenario could mitigate the impacts from climate change.

First author on the paper and PML Socio-economic Modeller Dr Jose Fernandes commented:

“The results demonstrate that effective fisheries management can be an important tool in response to the effects of climate change on ecosystem productivity in highly fisheries-dependant countries”.

Image: Map of the Bay of Bengal showing the model domain (shaded), the position of river mouths in the model and the Bangladesh Exclusive Economic Zone. Diamonds show the position of rivers whose flow and nutrient loadings to the sea.

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