Climate Change Will Negatively Impact 84 Percent of Mexico’s Important Fisheries
Sun, April 11, 2021

Climate Change Will Negatively Impact 84 Percent of Mexico’s Important Fisheries

Climate change is creating impacts on marine fisheries in different parts of the globe / Photo by Daniel Wedeking via 123rf


Climate change will negatively impact 84 percent of the most important fisheries in Mexico in terms of value and volume unless action will be taken. This is based on a study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara in collaboration with Mexican experts. 


Changes in marine habitats and the risks they bring

The study titled “Fisheries governance in the face of climate change: Assessment of policy reform implications for Mexican fisheries,” highlighted that climate change has shifted the distribution and abundance of invertebrates and marine fish. By altering oceanographic conditions and marine habitats, climate change is creating impacts on marine fisheries in different parts of the globe. This affects the productivity and distribution of other marine fish as well as the invertebrate stocks, creating risk and uncertainty for the coastal communities, fishing industries, and millions of fishers whose food security and livelihoods depend on marine produce.


Mexico’s fish landings

The research modeled how climate change will impact the fisheries in Mexico using various samples of temperature increase. The researchers believed that 84 percent of species that will be affected accounts for 70 percent of the country’s landings. By landings, it means the marine catch of that reaches domestic or foreign ports. 

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an intergovernmental economic organization founded to stimulate world trade and economic progress, marine capture landings are usually subject to changes in prices and market demand and the need to rebuild the stocks for sustainable yield. This is to achieve long-term use of marine resources. 



Mexico’s fish landing in 2017 was at 1,454,298 tons, just slightly ahead of Korea (0.9 million tons). The countries with the highest fish landings are China (15,340,000 tons), Indonesia (6,204,668 tons), United States (4,755,714 tons), Peru (3,825,720 tons), and Japan (3,257,700 tons).

The research also highlighted that some of the greatest declines in fish catch were due to the warming of waters in the country. The most affected species are red snapper, snook, abalone, jumbo squid, pacific sardine, and mahi-mahi. Miguel Angel Cisneros-Mata from Mexico’s National Institute of Fishing and Aquaculture and team pointed out that a significant decline in these species will lead to negative implications on the country’s coastal communities.


Ways to offset the impacts of climate change

Using climate impact model outputs and estimations, the team identified high priority regions, fleets, and stocks for policy reform in the country while facing climate change. They believed that the approach can be utilized in data-poor circumstances to be able to focus on policy reform and future research efforts. The team said that it is best to invest in sustainable management. Mexico’s national fisheries should, therefore, prepare for a world that is impacted by climate change since most people's livelihoods are dependent on it.


There are more than 350,000 fishers in Mexico / Photo by Galyna Andrushko via 123rf


Co-author Laura Rodriques, who is also the associate vice president for Latin America of the Environmental Defense Fund de México, said that there are more than 350,000 fishers in Mexico and these also have families who depend on them. It is necessary to have in-country strategies that will enable the reproduction and preservation of fish by adopting a sustainable aquaculture and fisheries management. This can be possible through policy reform.

The team further mentioned that assessing the fisheries against climate change is an important first step to better understand what is at stake.


Aquaculture production in Mexico

Aquaculture production is cultivating fish as well as crustaceans taken from inland waters, sea tanks, and marine waters. The OECD data showed the aquaculture production in Mexico. In 2000, it accounted for $226,221,300. It increased to $281,918,470 in 2002. More recent data follows:

2006: $530,175,770
2008: $565,705,110
2010: $375,245,480
2012: $484,707,560
2014: $666,874,170
2016: $755,512,430



Aquaculture and the economy

Aquaculture plays an important role in the emerging economies because of its potential to contribute to the increased food production while reducing pressure on the fish resources, the OECD said. Aquaculture covers mariculture, which involves the use of seawater, fish farming, algaculture that involves the cultivation of algae, and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture.

The Environmental Defense Fund, which is one of the largest environmental organizations, recently shared that protecting the coastal livelihoods and the world’s oceans can be achieved only when nature and people are also protected together. People in the seafood sector and fisheries play an important part in ensuring healthy oceans for long-term use. The organization recommended socio-economic policy reforms that will help strengthen the economic capacities at the regional and community levels as well as sociocultural investments that will support the fabric found in these communities. 

The EDF also suggested strengthening the small-scale fishing organizations, as they have an important role to play in implementing the social benefits.