Adaptation in the fisheries sector


With a coastline of 4,800 km and an ocean area of 5,500km2, Madagascar’s coastal and marine areas harbor large and diverse offshore and nearshore fishing grounds and extensive littoral zones that provide resources and land for aquaculture development. Inland waterways, including freshwater lakes and rivers, are also exploited for commercial and subsistence fishing but to a lesser extent than marine fisheries.
The fisheries sector is of substantial importance to the national economy; the sector contributed 7% of the GDP in 2005 and shrimp exports are one of the major sources of foreign earnings. At a local level the fisheries sector provides numerous local communities with livelihoods and subsistence food resources thereby assisting in poverty alleviation and enhancement of food security.

Potential Impacts

Climate change impacts on the fisheries sector are likely to occur as a result of both climate variability - changes in air and sea temperature, ocean currents, sea levels, wind patterns and water acidity levels - and extreme climate events, including increased incidence and intensity of cyclones and flooding. Potential impacts on the fisheries sector in Madagascar include:
• Changes to production ecology of fish stocks including changes to species abundance, composition and distribution, changes to production and yields, and changes to incidence of diseases in wild and captive fish stocks, resulting from destruction of breeding, nursery and refuge areas resulting not only from climate variability but also indirect causes attributable to climate change such as coral bleaching events and water quality deterioration through increased sedimentation.

• Impacts on livelihoods of fishers and food security through decreased productivity or yields, loss of employment, reduction in income, adoption of supplementary livelihoods or change of livelihoods with lower incomes, need to purchase additional equipment such as motors, or loss or damage of assets or equipment.

• Disruption to fishing communities through migration into or from certain areas as availability of fish stocks change leading to conflicts, increased competition for limited natural resources, loss of cultural traditions, increased pressure on public services or public health impacts.

• Increased risks associated with fishery operations including increased risks associated with fishing operations as fishers have to travel further offshore to maintain yields and risks associated with increased intensity or frequency of storms or cyclones, particularly in the northeast and southwest of Madagascar.

• Damage to onshore infrastructure including aquaculture operations as a result of rising sea levels, flooding, salinity intrusion or increased incidence of cyclones and storms.

• Impacts on national economic development as a result of reduced exports of fish and related products.

Priority Actions

Climate change adaptation measures are required to increase the resilience of the fisheries sector to future climate conditions by protecting fisheries resources and the communities that depend upon them. Examples of adaptation approaches that should be considered for implementation in the fisheries sector in Madagascar include:
• Protection and conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems, including planning and management of a network of marine protected areas to protect breeding, nursery and refuge areas for fish stocks, protect onshore communities and facilities from cyclones, flooding and other climate related disasters, and ensure continued provision of coastal ecosystem services. Examples include restoration or planting of mangrove areas, creation and enforcement of fishing exclusion zones or creation of connectivity between protected areas.

• Increased access for fishers to technical, financial and material resources to assist them to maintain or modify their livelihood activities while protecting incomes and food security. Examples include including micro-credit schemes, training, and extension services or creation and/or improvement of fisher associations and cooperatives to assist fishers to be commercially competitive and ensure adequate incomes and employment conditions.

• Development and implementation of community management systems for marine resources to involve local communities in the protection and conservation of the resources on which their livelihoods depend and enhance their knowledge of the potential effects of climate change and the need to implement adaptation measures. Examples include establishment of marine protected areas under local community management or involvement of local communities in monitoring or rehabilitation activities.

• Improved land use planning and controls to ensure onshore facilities are located in zones that will not be affected by climate change impacts such as sea level rise or flooding.

• Implementation of watershed management measures to reduce sedimentation and protect water quality in marine and freshwater ecosystems.

• Improved storm and disaster warning systems to protect the safety of fishing activities.

• Improved research and scientific analyses to better understand the likely nature, scale and location of impacts on the fisheries sector in Madagascar.