Climate Change and the Oceans

Climate Change and the Oceans

Gauging the Legal and Policy Currents in the Asia Pacific and Beyond

Edited by Robin Warner and Clive Schofield

Climate Change and the Oceans investigates the effects of climate change on the ocean environment and its implications for maritime activities, both globally and within the Asia Pacific region.

Chapter 4: Climate change and marine living resources

Pia C. Winberg, Ana Rubio and Lisa Kirkendale

Subjects: environment, climate change, environmental law, environmental sociology, law - academic, environmental law, maritime law


Marine living resources encompass the full suite of marine biodiversity that provides for ecological services, such as bio-geochemical cycling of nutrients, commercial operations such as coral reef tourism, and primary production from fisheries and aquaculture. This chapter will focus on the last of these, marine living resources for food production, and infer the practical challenges that climate change will place on these resources across subsistence, artisanal and global fisheries and aquaculture operations and in different socioeconomic conditions in the Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific fisheries and aquaculture are as diverse in species, scale, technology and production as they are culturally and climatically. Despite the diversity of natural marine resources, land masses, cultures and socioeconomic conditions, the Asia Pacific collectively includes the three largest seafood producing regions globally: the Northwest Pacific, the Southeast Pacific and the Western Central Pacific (FAO 2010b). Millions of people in Asia rely on seafood production for subsistence, as well as for local and export markets. Outstanding growth in the marine aquaculture sector, particularly in China, has transferred the balance of seafood production towards aquaculture in many Asian countries (see Figure 4.1). Despite this, China and five other Asian countries remain in the top 10 list of nations with the largest wild fisheries in the world (FAO 2008a). China stands out globally in terms of seafood production and consumption–unsurprisingly, considering it has the largest human population with a high per capita consumption of seafood. China is shifting from becoming a net producer to a net importer of seafood, placing enormous pressure on regional and global seafood demand as a result.

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