Compound climate risks threaten aquatic food system benefits

Journal Article

Abstract: Aquatic foods from marine and freshwater systems are critical to the nutrition, health, livelihoods, economies and cultures of billions of people worldwide, but climate-related hazards may compromise their ability to provide these benefits. Here, we estimate national-level aquatic food system climate risk using an integrative food systems approach that connects climate hazards impacting marine and freshwater capture fisheries and aquaculture to their contributions to sustainable food system outcomes. We show that without mitigation, climate hazards pose high risks to nutritional, social, economic and environmental outcomes worldwide—especially for wild-capture fisheries in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Small Island Developing States. For countries projected to experience compound climate risks, reducing societal vulnerabilities can lower climate risk by margins similar to meeting Paris Agreement mitigation targets. System-level interventions addressing dimensions such as governance, gender equity and poverty are needed to enhance aquatic and terrestrial food system resilience and provide investments with large co-benefits towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Citation: Tigchelaar, M., W.W.L. Cheung, E.Y. Mohammed, M.J. Phillips, H.J. Payne, E.R. Selig, C.C.C. Wabnitz, M.A. Oyinlola, T.L. Frölicher, J.A. Gephart, C.D. Golden, E.H. Allison, A. Bennett, L. Cao, J. Fanzo, B.S. Halpern, V.W.Y. Lam, F. Micheli, R.L. Naylor, U.R. Sumaila, A. Tagliabue and M. Troell. 2021. Compound climate risks threaten aquatic food system benefits. Nature Food 2(9):673-682.