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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

    AEI prepress abstract   -  DOI:

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

    I. López Mengual, P. Sanchez-Jerez*, J. D. Ballester-Berman

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: The warming of the Mediterranean Sea surface is currently estimated to have been 0.4°C per decade for the period from 1985 to 2006, and the increased water temperature may have affected marine aquaculture, decreasing productivity. Haphazard 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 last 31 years in the western Mediterranean (Spanish coast), focusing on the suitability of the coastline in terms of global warming and sea surface temperature (SST) 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. This study was conducted using EU Copernicus Marine Service Information (data set SST MED SST L4 REP OBSERVATIONS 010 021), 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 suffered an important increase in temperature due to global change, with a clear latitudinal pattern, modified by mesoscale oceanographic processes. The development of offshore aquaculture, in some circumstances, 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.