Effects of climate change and management policies on marine fisheries productivity in the north-east coast of India
The study covers two important deltaic systems of the north-east coast of India, viz. the Bengal and Mahanadi delta that support about 1.25 million people. The changes in potential marine fish production and socio-economic conditions were modelled for these two deltas under long-term changes in environmental conditions (sea surface temperature and primary production) to the end of the 21st century. Our results show that an increased temperature (by 4ᵒC) has a negative impact on fisheries productivity, which was projected to decrease by 5%. At the species level, Bombay duck, Indian mackerel and threadfin bream showed an increasing trend in the biomass of potential catches under the sustainable fishing scenario. However, under the business as usual and overfishing scenarios, our results suggest reduced catch for both states. On the other hand, mackerel tuna, Indian oil sardine, and hilsa fisheries showed a projected reduction in potential catch also for the sustainable fishing scenario. The socio-economic models projected an increase of up to 0.67% (involving 0.8 billion USD) in consumption by 2050 even under the best management scenario. The GDP per capita was projected to face a loss of 1.7 billion USD by 2050. The loss of low-cost fisheries would negatively impact the poorer coastal population since they strongly depend upon these fisheries as a source of protein. Nevertheless, adaptation strategies tend to have a negative correlation with poverty and food insecurity which needs to be addressed separately to make the sector-specific efforts effective. This work can be considered as the baseline model for future researchers and the policymakers to explore potential sustainable management options for the studied regions.