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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

    AEI prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Climate change and aquaculture: Considering biological response and resources

    Gregor K. Reid*, Helen J. Gurney-Smith, David J. Marcogliese, Duncan Knowler, Tillmann Benfey, Amber F. Garber, Ian Forster, Thierry Chopin, Kathy Brewer-Dalton, Richard D. Moccia, Mark Flaherty, Caitlin T. Smith, Sena De Silva

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The heavy reliance of most global aquaculture on the ambient environment and ecosystem services suggests inherent vulnerability to climate change effects. Aquaculture losses linked to climate change are now being reported in the scientific literature. This review explores potential effects of climate change stressors on aquaculture biology and resources needed to support vulnerability assessment, planned adaptation and strategic research development. Climate change mediated physiochemical outcomes important to aquaculture include: extreme weather, precipitation and surge-based flooding, water stress, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, salt water intrusion, and changes to temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen. Culture practices, environment and region, affect stressor exposure. Biological response to climate change stressors between related culture species, or even between populations of the same species, is not universal. Positive, negative or negligible response of a species or species population, to a climate change stressor will be a function of: where changes occur relative to optimal ranges and tolerance limits of an organism’s life stage and physiological processes; the average magnitude of the stressor over the production cycle; stressor rate of change; variation, frequency, duration, and magnitude of extremes; epigenetic expression, genetic strain and variation within and between populations; health and nutrition; and simultaneous stressor occurrence. The effects of simultaneous stressors will frequently interact, but may not be fully additive or synergistic. One dominant driver may cause the greatest effect. Disease is a major aquaculture limiter and climate change is expected to further affect plant and animal health through the host and/or infectious agents with uncertain, but potentially profound outcomes. Climate change may introduce further complexity to the aquaculture–wild fishery relationship; with over two-thirds of animal aquaculture production dependent on external feed inputs, primarily from climate sensitive reduction fisheries. Higher production costs could be an economic outcome of climate change for many aquaculture sectors. Some aquaculture practices may inadvertently reduce resiliency to climate change, such as a reduction of coastal vegetation, coastal ground-water pumping, and reduction of population variability in pursuit of consistent production traits. While aquaculture specific climate change literature is rapidly evolving, information from the largest aquaculture producers such as China and the top three global culture species is still sparse in the literature. This potentially limits thorough understanding of climate change effects on some regional aquaculture sectors.