A few decades ago, the word climate change had no resonance with the common man, until recently when the scientific findings combined with the present phenomenon brought a clear comprehensive evidence to modern man.
Climate change is the gradual changes in the statistical distribution of weather over a period of time (decades to millions of years) – it can be limited to a specific region or may happen across the whole world.
The build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of human interaction with nature is changing several of the features of the Earth’s climate, such as oceans, coastal and freshwater ecosystems that affect fisheries and aquaculture in general, air and sea surface temperatures, rainfall, sea level, acidity of the ocean, wind patterns, and the intensity of tropical cyclones – these are all affected as the result of the build-up of carbon dioxide.
Namibia has one of the most productive fishing grounds in the world, based on the Benguela Current System, one of the four eastern boundary upwelling systems in the world (the others are off North- West Africa, off California and off Peru). These systems support rich populations of fish, which form the basis for the Namibian marine fisheries sector. Fish farmers and coastal inhabitants will bear the full force of these impacts through less stable livelihoods, changes in the availability and quality of fish for food, and rising risks to their health, safety and homes. Many fisheries-dependent communities already live a precarious and vulnerable existence because of poverty, lack of social services and essential infrastructure.
The fragility of these communities is further undermined by overexploited fishery resources and degraded ecosystems. The implications of climate change for food security and livelihoods in small island states and many developing countries such as Namibia are profound.
Climate change is modifying the distribution and productivity of marine and freshwater species and is already affecting biological processes and altering food webs. The consequences for sustainability of aquatic ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture, and the people that depend on them, are uncertain as there is impact on the abundance of certain species, reduction on harvests, instability of fishing related employment, cost of fish, not to mention the socio-political impact to be had.
This calls for the further proliferation of mariculture. Mariculture is widely accepted by locals since its inception and the potential involved to increase the production, include the 1,500km largely uninhabited coastline, unpolluted high quality marine waters, high natural primary productivity of the seawater.
The three spheres of life cannot be separated, being social, economic and political spheres. A strategized project that will serve as the catalyst in pin-pointing vulnerabilities within the community and identify strategic mechanisms through which the community can be strengthened in order to ensure a sustainable livelihoods, food security, job creation and nutrition needs to be implemented that will see optimised usage and impact management
A continuous observation and analysis need to be carried out that will lay the foundation for improved management of fisheries and marine ecosystems. With Namibia’s endorsement of environmentally sound initiatives as well as its participation in the 25th anniversary of COP, we are certain to undertake the necessary action to secure our mariculture.
*Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is the //Kharas regional chairperson and !Nami#nus constituency regional councillor and is a holder of a Diploma in Theology, B-Theo (SA), a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Diploma in Education III (KOK) BA (HED) from UNISA.
This article is written in his personal capacity.
2020-02-14 08:13:05 | 13 days ago