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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 13:515-526 (2021)  -  DOI:

Offshore aquaculture as climate change adaptation in coastal areas: sea surface temperature trends in the Western Mediterranean Sea

I. López Mengual1, P. Sanchez-Jerez1,*, J. D. Ballester-Berman2

1Department of Marine Sciences and Applied Biology, Fase 5 Ciencias, University of Alicante, Ap.C 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain
2Institute for Computer Research (IUII), University of Alicante, Ap.C. 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The warming of the Mediterranean Sea surface is currently estimated to have been 0.4°C per decade for the period 1985-2006, and the increase in water temperature may have negatively affected marine aquaculture, e.g. by decreasing productivity. Development of aquaculture without adequate planning can lead to unsustainable economic feasibility due to future climate stressors. In this sense, offshore mariculture could be an alternative for mitigating the effect of coastal warming. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the suitability of the coastline in terms of global warming and sea surface temperature trends in locations where fish aquaculture is currently being developed, as well as the spatial changes of thermal anomalies up to 30 km from the coast, during the last 31 yr in the western Mediterranean (Spanish coast). This study was conducted using EU Copernicus Marine Service Information, covering the period 1981-2018, with a spatial resolution of 4 × 4 km. The results show that, over the last decade, the Mediterranean coastal environment off the Iberian Peninsula has experienced an increase in temperature of around 1ºC due to global change, with a clear latitudinal pattern modified by mesoscale oceanographic processes. The development of offshore aquaculture at some latitudes mitigates the extreme aestival effects on surface water temperatures. Strategic plans for aquaculture development should be able to forecast and incorporate future climate projections and local oceanographic conditions, and offshore aquaculture may provide an alternative in some regions, depending on local oceanographic conditions.

KEY WORDS: Climate change · Marine aquaculture · Offshore aquaculture · Marine spatial planning

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Cite this article as: López Mengual I, Sanchez-Jerez P, Ballester-Berman JD (2021) Offshore aquaculture as climate change adaptation in coastal areas: sea surface temperature trends in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Aquacult Environ Interact 13:515-526.

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