Rumya Sundaram

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2015


Climate change is causing large-scale alterations in the world’s oceans that are disproportionately affecting communities located in coastal areas or island nations. Ocean acidification, sea level rise, and other major climatic events have gradual but long-term effects on these communities and the ecosystems on which they rely. More specifically, many coastal and island communities rely heavily on fisheries as a source of income and protein intake. As oceans warm and ecosystems change, many fish species are migrating farther towards the poles, or changing their breeding habits, or experiencing other physiological changes, making fishing in areas closer to the tropics more difficult. Assessing the vulnerability of a country’s fishery in relation to climate change can be done by investigating indicators of risk exposure, sensitivity, and the adaptive capacity of both the fishery and the communities or countries reliant on the fishery. A country’s membership to regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) could be an indicator of adaptive capacity, since the primary functions of RFMOs tend to coincide with many of the goals of adaptation plans (e.g. sustainability of resources, ability to cope with change, etc.). RFMOs are created to aid in keeping fisheries sustainable for all interested parties. They manage the gear used, the quota of fish catch, the seasons for fishing certain species, and many other important facets of a fishery. This report investigates the possibility of including RFMO membership of a country as a specific indicator of adaptive capacity, which in turn is used to measure the vulnerability of that country in relation to climate change.


Department: MBE MPS Track: FMC Location: The Nature Conservancy

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