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The Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC) 2006-2015 explicitly recognizes the need to identify vulnerable sectors to better design and target adaptation measures. Several consequences of the build-up of greenhouse gases threaten to derail plans for optimising the benefits from fisheries in the region. Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) need to understand the extent of these threats; identify their implications for economic growth, food security, livelihoods; and adapt fisheries and aquaculture to maintain the vital contributions to their economies, societies and cultures in the face of climate change.
The key threats to fisheries and aquaculture in the Pacific from climate change appear to include:
• changes to the distribution and abundance of tuna;
• decline in coral reefs and associated fisheries;
• increased operating costs associated with 'climate proofing' shore-based facilities and updrading fleets to provide improived safety at sea and;
• damage to ponds for freshwater aquaculture.
The way these threats will affect different PICTs is not yet clear, as recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Expert Consultation on Climate Change for Fisheries and Aquaculture. To assist PICTs to understand the vulnerability of the region to these and other emergency threats, SPC has launched a project to assess the impact of climate change on Pacific fisheries.