Institutional adaptation

There is some economic literature on institutional and management options (OECD, 2010). There are also studies that have assessed the costs and benefits of management options for adaptation to future climate change. They includes the global EACC study (World Bank, 2010a) as well as the studies highlighted earlier for Peru (UNDP, 2011) and Viet Nam (World Bank, 2010b).

Other studies have considered similar options. Dey et al. (2016) assessed the economics of natural resource management and aquaculture as climate adaptations in Fiji. They showed that the net economic gain per year for aquaculture would be USD 802 701 by 2035 and USD 2.6 million by 2050 [USD 2009]. They found that natural resource management (plus fish aggregating devices [FADs]) would generate annual gains of USD 11 million by 2035 and USD 14.5 million by 2050. Together, both options could generate annual gains of USD 16 million by 2050 compared with no adaptation. Dey et al. (2016) estimated the economic implications of adapting fisheries in Solomon Islands, looking at FADs, aquaculture and natural resource management. They also found annual net economic gains for each of these options, reaching USD 370 000 by 2050 for aquaculture, USD 10 million for FADs, and USD 2.5 million for natural resource management [USD 2009]. Rosegrant et al. (2016) undertook a similar study for Timor-Leste and Vanuatu, again looking at aquaculture development, natural resource management (marine protected areas [MPAs]) and deployment of low-cost, inshore FADs, and assessing the increase in national economic gain with these measures under a future changing climate.

Gaines et al. (2018) undertook analysis of future climate change. They found that improvements in fisheries management could offset the negative consequences of climate change (enhancing biomass, catch and profit, compared with “business as usual”) if current reforms to fisheries were implemented to address current inefficiencies, adapt to fisheries productivity changes, and proactively create effective transboundary institutions.

However, other studies have found that the standard tools for fisheries management may not be sufficient to build resilience for future climate change (Grafton, 2010; Lane, 2010), as such tools focus on maintaining spawning stock biomass (SSB) above predetermined thresholds and regulate fishing mortality to achieve these SSBs. It is also noted that historical climatic variability does seem to have some correlations with past fisheries collapses (Hannesson, 2011), suggesting at least some role in addition to human influence, and highlighting the potential for threshold effects that might exceed the limits of some of these options.

Some studies have found that spatial controls could be important adaptation options, especially options that focus on conservation and protection. These include the introduction of MPAs and locally managed marine areas, as well as the conservation and restoration of near-shore ecosystems that are important for fisheries or play an important role in breeding or ecosystems (notably corals and mangroves). There have been economic studies valuing MPAs, and estimating their potential costs and benefits for fisheries, although there are fewer examples of the benefits under future climate change. For example, economic valuation studies of MPAs have been undertaken in the Mediterranean Sea (Mangos and Claudot., 2013) and in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Kenter et al., 2013; Eftec, 2014), including for specific value chains on shellfish and cod (Eftec, 2015) and studies of MPAs for coral reefs (Emerton, Baig and Saleem, 2009; Londono-Diaz et al., 2015).

Institutional options, including strengthening and capacity building, are also key factors for successful adaptation. These can include technical assistance to support implementation of climate adaptation options and investments in climate-sensitive sectors, which have been identified as a good low-regret option[1] (LSE, 2016). There is general evidence on the benefits of capacity building and training in climate-sensitive sectors, which report high benefit-to-cost ratios for technical assistance (Mullen, Gray and de Meyer, 2015), although there is no specific evidence for fisheries in the climate domain.

An important set of management options relates to monitoring and awareness raising. There is a set of options to take advantage of the threats and opportunities of climate change (Frontier Economics, Ibaris and Ecofys, 2013). There can also be management choices to try and ensure opportunities for small vessel operators. For example, it would be possible to look at prioritizing new opportunities for smaller boats that operate on shorter distances, as opposed to larger deep-water vessels.

A key issue is the need to address information barriers. Thus a priority is to assess, monitor and raise awareness of threats and opportunities for fishers and fish workers along the value chain. This requires the monitoring of new as well as existing species, and planning for both in fisheries management frameworks.

There is also a need to raise awareness for markets and demand for new species. What is clear is that, given evolving risks over time, there is a need for fisheries management options to bring on board the concepts of adaptive management (see Chapter 4), that is, to have an iterative cycle of monitoring, review and learning. This reflects a growing literature on the role for adaptive and dynamic management approaches in fisheries (e.g. Holsman et al., 2018). This includes, for example, the use of a monitoring and learning cycle to inform fisheries policy over time, as well as raising awareness on these changes with fishers. This is likely to be particularly important for species abundance and distribution, and emerging threats such as marine heatwaves and acidification. This information can be subsequently fed back into fisheries policy (e.g. to change catch limits, including between species) and to raise awareness on changes to fishers, to provide information to help them adapt. Early economic analysis of adopting such a method (Watkiss and Cimato, 2019), drawing on the potential benefits outlined by Costello et al. (2010), indicates potential positive benefit-to-cost ratios.

In the climate change context, an early option will therefore include the need to enhance monitoring of biophysical parameters of relevance to climate change, e.g. temperature and salinity, as well as of current and new fish species.

[1]  Low-regret options have the potential to offer benefits now and lay the foundation for addressing projected changes (IPCC, 2012).