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Forecasting and anticipating effects of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture

Specific challenge Global warming and climate change are likely to affect all the biosphere's components and impact the functioning of all aquatic ecosystems and the living organisms that populate them. In the context of an increasing global population and demand for sufficient and safe food supplies, it is critical to predict and anticipate the nature and magnitude of potential impacts of climate change on food production systems. A lot of scientific effort is put on the understanding of the interrelations between the oceans and the climate system, which is also a key prerequisite for predicting and anticipating potential consequences of climate change on seafood production methods and systems. Ensuring sufficient preparedness and quick adaptation capacity of European marine and freshwater fisheries and aquaculture sectors to potential threats and opportunities due to climate change might be decisive for the long term sustainability of the two sectors, as well as for guaranteeing to European consumers and societies an acceptable degree of self-sufficiency of seafood supplies.

Scope: Proposals should give similar emphasis on both (A) and (B):

A. Proposals should focus on understanding how climate change may affect the most important and less resilient exploited European fish stocks and should cover the diversity of ecosystems and EU fisheries. They should provide new insights, at different geographic scales (in the major European oceans, seas and inland waters) and different climate change scenarios, on how climate-induced changes may affect important biological processes (including, reproductive success, population dynamics, migration patterns, interactions between fish populations, etc.). Particular focus should be given on risk assessment and management, elaboration of adaptation strategies for fisheries management and development of novel forecasting and early warning methodologies.

B.  Proposals should also investigate the potential effects and consequences of climate change on aquaculture taking into account the diversity of aquaculture practices, species and regional specificities, farming technologies and specific requirements of established and emerging European farmed species. Proposals should identify and model potential threats from global warming (including sea level rise, temperature/salinity changes, acidification, coastal erosion, HABs shellfish toxins, jellyfish, diseases spread and pathogens virulence, invasive species etc.) on the main segments of the European aquaculture sector (including freshwater), while considering the diversity of species and regional specificities of this sector. They should assess the economic risks related to these threats and should propose scenarios and realistic and cost-efficient adaptation and mitigation options and tools.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact:

  • Support fisheries management and aquaculture development by reducing uncertainties and risk, while optimising the scientific advice, policies implementation and production planning.
  • Allow regulators, fisherman and aquaculture operators to anticipate, prepare and adapt to different scenarios driven by climate change, while minimizing economic losses and social consequences.
  • Identify opportunities that might occur under the different scenarios and prepare to reap the potential benefits for the European fisheries, aquaculture and seafood sectors and for consumers.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions