Climate, sealife & other impacts
In the past, declining Leeuwin Current strength and altered storm patterns has meant lower rock lobster puerulus (larvae) settlement. This negatively affects the commercial fishery through reduced abundance of adults and tighter management regulations.
The extreme heatwave of 2010 killed fish at the Abrolhos Islands. This could affect tourism to the area and potentially impact commercial and recreational fisheries if a regular occurrence. Increased ocean temperatures or heatwaves also have implications for aquaculture species. Cooler water species have higher stress levels in warming waters and tend to die or be more susceptible to diseases. As a result, there may be a shift to species such as cobia and Spanish mackerel.
Other potential sources of vulnerability in Geraldton arise through:
- Heavy reliance on mining, oil and gas, and associated industries (e.g., ports, rail, supplies) for employment
- Lack of accommodation for tourists due to occupation by mine workers
- High value of the Australian dollar – has negative effect on export (international) markets
- A focus on international markets for fish weakens the domestic market and increases risk to fishers if international markets collapse.