Fishermen made aware of the impact of climate change on their activity
From February to April, CCMAR researchers organised eight meetings with fishermen between Olhão and Viana do Castelo to interchange knowledge about the impacts of climate change.
Using their current knowledge of the biology and ecology of species, the researchers explained the effects that climate change will have on the fisheries sector in the future when sea conditions will be different. For each Portuguese region, the scientists were able to evaluate the different management options considering the ecological, social and institutional dimensions in order to develop adaptation plans.
Adaptation proposals and concerns of the sector
Furthermore, possible adaptation measures or management improvements to achieve were discussed aiming at a more sustainable and climate-resilient fishery and economic activity, namely 30 specific management measures were discussed with the fishing sector.
All fishing communities reported having already noticed, to some degree, the effect of climate change in terms of weather conditions, changes in species distribution, and increase in sea surface temperature, among others.
Although each community has its own specificities, some of the concerns and potential solutions discussed in the assessment of the management measure are common.
Ageing the professionals and low price at the auction
The advanced age of fishermen and the low recruitment of young people is one of the main concerns of the sector, and it is necessary to create incentives for younger fishermen to work in the fishery. Other proposed measures are mainly related to the improvement of working conditions, safety and wage conditions in fishing.
Furthermore, most participants agree that the first sale price of fish at an auction is very low compared to the price for final consumers and that mechanisms should be implemented to obtain a fair price.
There was consensus on implementing measures such as the creation of management committees, adaptation plans and a more dynamic, scientific and ecological management of fisheries, with a greater degree of involvement of associations in decision-making processes.
However, due to the differences between fishing ports (fishing fleet), most fishermen consider that it is difficult to reach farreaching agreements and that a lot of work is needed to create discussion spaces and to carry out these measures in a consensual way.
Proposed sector plan
In the coming months, all the information gathered will be shared with managers and fishermen's associations in order to move forward in the proposal of a sectoral plan for adaptation to climate change in fisheries in Portugal.
These meetings entitled "Climate-Fisheries Conversations: Adaptation of the Portuguese fisheries to climate change" are part of the Clima-Pesca project, where one of the main objectives is to transfer information on the impacts of climate change in the different regions of Portugal, in order to discuss adaptation measures among the fisheries stakeholders.