Climate and sealife

Physical climate changes such as changes in temperature, sea level and wind regimes contribute to modifications in the productivity, distribution and timing of life events (e.g. migration, spawning) of marine species. These modifications are important because changes to species’ rates of growth, survival and reproduction may have impacts on the catch and distribution of fisheries (Perry et al. 2010). In addition, they will impact non-commercial activities such as recreation and conservation.

This information links climate pressures to key species for each region by providing a score for sensitivity for various wild capture and aquaculture species to climate change.


Photo: IMAS

Species sensitivities

A recent ecological risk assessment of key wild capture fishery and aquaculture species (Pecl et al. 2011) assessed the risks species may face from climate change. The risk assessment reviewed available literature and assessed the potential impacts of physical changes (e.g. rainfall, wind, temperature) on factors such as abundance, distribution and timing of life cycle events. Criteria used to assess each species included egg production and age at maturity (abundance), capacity for movement and the availability of unoccupied habitat (distribution) and timing of migration and spawning (life cycle events). A score (low = 1 to high = 3) was produced for each species based on impacts on these three factors.

The scores were added to produce an overall sensitivity score ranging from low (1) to high (9) sensitivity to climate change. Species were ranked in each region; ranks can be found in Pecl et al. 2011. These rankings will allow fisheries managers and stakeholders to understand the likely outcomes different fisheries face and help to develop adaptation strategies for the future. We present the sensitivity scores in ‘Create a blueprint‘ to provide you with an indication of the effects climate change may have on commercial and recreational species in your area.  

Southern Region

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Western Region

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Northern Region

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