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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 3:163-175 (2013)  -  DOI:

Assessing the risk of climate change to aquaculture: a case study from south-east Australia

Zoë A. Doubleday1,8, Steven M. Clarke2,*, Xiaoxu Li2, Gretta T. Pecl1, Tim M. Ward2, Stephen Battaglene1, Stewart Frusher1, Philip J. Gibbs3, Alistair J. Hobday4, Neil Hutchinson5,9, Sarah M. Jennings6, Richard Stoklosa7

1Fisheries, Aquaculture & Coasts, Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7053, Australia
2Aquatic Sciences, South Australian Research & Development Institute and Marine Innovation South Australia, West Beach, South Australia 5024, Australia
3Department of Primary Industries NSW, Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre, Cronulla, New South Wales 2230, Australia
4Climate Adaptation Flagship, CSIRO Marine & Atmospheric Research, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
5Fisheries Research Branch, Department of Primary Industries, DPI Queenscliff Centre, Queenscliff, Victoria 3225, Australia
6School of Economics & Finance, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
7E-Systems Pty Limited, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
8Present address: Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories, School of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
9Present address: JCU Singapore, TropWATER - Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, James Cook University, 600 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574421
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: A qualitative screening-level risk assessment was developed to evaluate relative levels of risk from climate change to aquaculture industries. The assessment was applied to 7 major industries in the temperate south-east region of Australia and involved a simple, transparent and repeatable methodology that was appropriate for a range of different aquaculture systems and taxa. Two key stages were involved: the development of comprehensive expertise-based literature reviews or ‘species profiles’ and a scoring assessment, with the latter providing a defined framework within which industries could be ranked (from high to low risk). In addition to informing the second stage of the risk assessment process, the species’ profiles also highlighted important climate change drivers and key information uncertainties and knowledge gaps. There was good resolution among the scoring assessments, with only 2 industries receiving the same risk score. The results indicated that oysters farmed from wild spat (Sydney rock oysters Saccostrea glomerata) were at most risk to climate change, with warm temperate hatchery-based finfish species (yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi) being the least at risk. This study provides critical guidance for scientists, resource managers and stakeholders for future research, both in addressing key knowledge gaps and focussing the development of more detailed risk analyses for high risk aquaculture industries in south-east Australia.

KEY WORDS: Risk assessment · Climate change · Aquaculture · Australia

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Cite this article as: Doubleday ZA, Clarke SM, Li X, Pecl GT and others (2013) Assessing the risk of climate change to aquaculture: a case study from south-east Australia. Aquacult Environ Interact 3:163-175.

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