Emerging trends in science and news of climate change threats to and adaptation of aquaculture

Elsevier, Aquaculture, Volume 549, 25 February 2022
Froehlich H.E., Koehn J.Z., Holsman K.K., Halpern B.S.

Food production is one of the main contributors to climate change, but is also vulnerable to the resulting stressors, which is well documented for agriculture and fisheries. Attention is now turning to the rapidly growing aquaculture sector and its vulnerability to a changing climate. Here we explore the extent to which climate stressors and aquaculture, and concomitant adaptation strategies, are studied in science and addressed in public media (news) to assess focus and attribution of climate change. We reviewed 553 scientific publications and 228 news media articles on climate stressors, impacts, and adaptation approaches with respect to aquaculture. Results indicate that coverage in the scientific community of climate stressors on aquaculture have not kept pace with growth of production in the sector, especially compared to agriculture and fisheries. Temperature, sea level rise, and ocean acidification were most often the focus in science (44%) and news (42%), suggesting some alignment. Combined coverage tended to revolve around Asia, Europe, and North/Central America (70%) and at least 10 countries' science and news linked current impacts on aquaculture to climate change. The majority of scientific articles addressing adaptation were regional rather than global, and emphasized governance and institutional strategies over technological solutions. In all, this research highlights the comparatively nascent focus of climate change implications for aquaculture, narrow emphasis of stressors, but fairly representative coverage of regions with more aquaculture. Our work highlights the need for more research and public awareness of the social and ecological climate change threats and impacts on, and adaptive strategies for aquaculture.