Climate Change, Fisheries and Food Security

Climate Change, Fisheries and Food Security

Our Climate Change, Fisheries and Food Security research program focuses on addressing food security challenges through improved fisheries management and distribution. The importance of fish to food security globally is undisputed. Less-developed countries are heavily dependent on fish for food and fish consumption in these countries is expected to rise by 21% by 2022. The United Nations, the World Bank and other international fora are increasingly focusing attention on the global challenges presented by declining fish stocks and the ramifications for food security and economic development. Poor fishing practices and overfishing costs the world up to $50 billion in lost economic benefits every year, with 30% of the world’s fisheries now over-exploited.* This is a critical challenge in the Pacific islands region where fisheries provide 40% to 90% of animal protein for coastal communities and are a key resource for food security, livelihoods, revenue and development. 

Three recent separate studies on fisheries, food security and climate change^ have indicated that 75% of Pacific island coastal fisheries will not meet food security needs by 2030, and climate change is likely to exacerbate this problem. These studies have focused donor and regional attention on this challenge, but little work has yet been done connecting all three issues in a manner that clearly prioritises threats and responses, or on a methodology for assessing the contribution of fisheries to food security. 

Our research team collaborates with regional partners to study looming climate change and overfishing threats to food security and develop innovative and practical policy solutions. Our long standing experience in development and fisheries governance, combined with partnerships with UOW nutritionists and epidemiologists enables us to undertake high quality fieldwork in coastal communities and collaborate with communities and governments to develop effective responses. 

For further information on our research projects and relevant experience, please contact A/Prof. Quentin Hanich.

* FAO. (2012) The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Rome, Italy. Arnasaon, R., Kelleher, K., Willmann, R. (2009) The Sunken Billions: The Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform. The World Bank. Washington DC, USA.

^ Johann Bell, Johanna Johnson and Alistair Hobday (eds). Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change. Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Noumea. 2011. Johann Bell, et al. Planning the use of fish for food security in the Pacific. Marine Policy. 33. 64-76. 2009. Robert Gillette and Ian Cartwright.  The future of Pacific Island fisheries. Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency. Noumea. 2010.

Last reviewed: 21 March, 2016