AquaMaps data for the first ever global assessment of climate change vulnerability of recreational fishes

A research study on the effects of climate change on recreational fisheries since 2019 where AquaMaps contributed modelled species distribution data has been recently published. It is a first global assessment of the climate change vulnerability of marine, freshwater, and diadromous recreational fishes. Their global climate vulnerability was quantified and mapped, looking at climate change projections and the physiological and ecological traits of these species. Patterns in climate vulnerability were analyzed against indices of socioeconomic value and conservation effort to determine the sufficiency of efforts for recreational fishes in different regions of the world. Among the findings:  

  • Over 20% of recreationally targeted fishes are vulnerable to climate change under a high emission scenario.
  • Marine fishes have the highest number of vulnerable species and are concentrated in regions with sensitive habitat types (e.g., coral reefs).
  • Freshwater fishes have higher proportions of species at risk from climate change, with concentrations in northern Europe, Australia, and southern Africa.
  • Mismatches in conservation effort and vulnerability are found within all regions and life-history groups.
  • Current conservation effort is primarily focused on marine fishes of high socioeconomic value (only 19% of vulnerable marine species were without conservation effort).
  • Freshwater and diadromous fishes are predicted to be proportionately more vulnerable but 72% of freshwater fishes and 33% of diadromous fishes have no measures in place despite their high vulnerability and cultural value.

Spatial and taxonomic analyses from this study provide guidance for the conservation and management of recreational fisheries under the changing global climate.

Culmination of the analyses featuring 4 maps.

Source: Valentina Ruiz-Leotaud, Sea Around Us Communications Officer



About Joann Glorioso

Events Coordinator / Communications & Public Relations Officer

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