Newsletter no 7 – Editorial

Fishery and climate change

Illustration, Anna Loveday-Brow

Fishing for their futures – small scale fishing communities fighting for their way of life.

Developing countries are generally more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than more developed countries due to their low capacity to adapt to climate change and variability. Increasing global surface temperatures, rising sea levels, irregular changes in average annual precipitation and increases in the variability and intensity of extreme weather events pose a major threat to coastal and island communities, which are heavily dependent on fish resources for their wellbeing – communities in which poverty is widespread and few alternative livelihoods are available.

Amidst the destruction caused by a lack of responsible governance of the use of land and natural resources, small-scale fishing communities are fighting to claim back their fishing grounds as governments and land use planners are seizing the catastrophe as an opportunity to halt small-scale fishing activities in such areas and allocate the areas to the development of tourist infrastructures and other uses. Fishing is not only a source of employment, income and food for small-scale fishery; it is a way of life based on social and environmental harmony which strengthens communities and supports adaptation measures particularly for the most vulnerable, especially women.

Small-scale fishing communities can build and strengthen their capacity to adapt if they are supported, and not forced to leave their waters.

Margaret Nakato, Co-President of the World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers