Climate change and fisheries



Climate change will affect fish and their habitats. Warmer temperatures will influence the abundance, migratory patterns and mortality rates of wild fish stocks and determine what species can be farmed in certain regions.

These climatic effects on fish will have social and economic consequences for people dependent on fisheries and aquaculture - from workers to coastal communities to consumers of fish.

While most work on climate change in fisheries has focused on fisheries science, OECD highlights the economic and policy aspects of adapting the fisheries sector to climate change. Fisheries policy makers need to develop adaptation strategies that take into account the economic consequences of climate change - strategies that must themselves be adaptable to the uncertainty of climate change.

OECD analysis and policy advice aims to ensure that the fishing and aquaculture sectors are environmentally and economically sustainable.


  • Strengthen global governance of fisheries
  • Communicate clearly with stakeholders, including the public, on how climate change will affect fisheries
  • Extend the use of rights-based management systems
  • Protect ecosystems
  • End environmentally harmful subsidies
  • Focus on aquaculture and on demand for sustainably caught seafood

Further reading

The Economics of Adapting Fisheries to Climate Change (March 2011)

Climate change will affect fisheries, fish stocks and coastal communities, but the form and extent of these impacts are uncertain. Fisheries policymakers must develop adaptable strategies for climate change that take social and economic consequences into account.

This collection of papers features the insights and recommendations of experts from around the world. It focuses on economic and governance issues, and includes studies of Korea, Chinese Taipei and the UK.

» Read the report online

  • White pox, dynamite, cyanide, and coral (OECD Insights blog)
    Overfishing — including destructive fishing — affects more than 55% of the world’s coral reefs. The million tons of fish taken from them each year is three times beyond the sustainability limit. The OECD Insights blog looks at the threat to our coral reefs.
  • Workshop on the Economics of Adapting Fisheries to Climate Change, June 2010
    Read the presentations and session details from this workshop, where participants shared their experiences and recommendations on how fisheries can meet the challenges of climate change.


Related links


Related Documents