Monday, February 09, 2009

Climate Change To Hit Africa Fisheries Hard: Study

From: Reuters Alert Net

Date: 06-Feb-09
Country: NORWAY
Author: Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

Harpoon fishermen walk to work across the white flour-fine sand of Paje beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania, June 1, 2008.
Photo: Hereward Holland

OSLO - African nations will be the most vulnerable to the impact of climate change on fisheries, ranging from damage to coral reefs to more severe river floods, according to a study of 132 nations on Thursday.

Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo were most at risk, according to the report which said it was the first to rank nations by their ability to adapt economically to projected impacts of global warming on fisheries.

"Countries of the developing world are going to find it most difficult to cope," said Stephen Hall, head of the Malaysia-based WorldFish Center which led the study by an international team of scientists.

Two-thirds of a group of 33 countries judged "highly vulnerable" were in Africa with most others in Asia and Latin America. Russia, with heavy reliance on fisheries, was the main exception in third place in the ranking.

"Although warming will be most pronounced at high latitudes, the countries with economies most vulnerable to warming-related effects on fisheries lie in the tropics," according to the report, published in the journal Fish and Fisheries.

Shifts could include damage to corals, which are nurseries for many fish. Inland, droughts or floods can disrupt fish supplies in lakes or rivers. "Vulnerability is not limited to coastal states," Hall said.

Those most at risk included Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone and landlocked Mali in Africa, Peru and Colombia in South America and Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam in Asia.

"Vulnerability was due to the combined effect of predicted warming, the relative importance of fisheries to national economies and diets, and limited societal capacity to adapt to potential impacts and opportunities," it said.

FOOD

Worldwide, more than 2.6 billion people rely on fish for at least 20 percent of their protein intake. Rates of dependence on fish were higher in many of the vulnerable nations.

But the study lacked data for dozens of nations, including many small island developing states in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. Hall said they were also likely to be at risk.

Hall said the study could prompt nations to think about how to safeguard fisheries. The U.N. Climate Panel says greenhouse gases, mainly from burning fossil fuels, will bring more heatwaves, disruptions to rainfall, and rising seas.

"The key measure is to invest in ensuring that the fisheries resources they have are well managed," he said. Countries should also try to diversify their economies.

The study was by scientists at the WorldFish Center, the University of East Anglia, Britain's Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Canada's Simon Fraser University, the University of Bremen and the Mekong River Commission.

(Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Developing Cool Rice for A Warmer World

From: Agriculture Business Week

Rice breeders throughout the world are wary of the impact of climate change on rice productivity. This now serves as a great challenge and a demand to develop cool rice varieties for a warmer world.

To develop the needed varieties, rice breeders, recently convened an international workshop in Wuhan, People’s Republic of China. They reviewed the current knowledge on rice tolerance or adaptation to high temperature and for mulated research strategies to develop new rice varieties that can cope with the increasing air temperature associated with global warming.

Rice breeders recognized that to secure grain yield and quality in a warming world, they must adopt new tools and identify genetic strategies to overcome the effects of high temperature on sterility and grain-filling. They must also develop selection tools to continue to select for high yield and high grain quality in a warmer world.

No doubt, the Earth’s climate is changing in an unprecedented manner in the past 400,000 years, Dr. Reiner Wiesmann and Dr. Achim Dobermann both from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), said during the workshop.