Vulnerability of coastal communities to key impacts of climate change on coral reef fisheries
Global Environmental Change
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia; Wildlife Conservation Society, Marine Program, Bronx, NY 10460-1099, United States; School of International Development, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, United Kingdom; Coral Reef Conservation Project, Mombasa, Kenya; Computational Ecology Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia; School of Marine Science and Technology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, United Kingdom; Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom; Stockholm Resilience Center, Stockholm University, Sweden; Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, Sweden
Coral reefs support the livelihood of millions of people especially those engaged in marine fisheries activities. Coral reefs are highly vulnerable to climate change induced stresses that have led to substantial coral mortality over large spatial scales. Such climate change impacts have the potential to lead to declines in marine fish production and compromise the livelihoods of fisheries dependent communities. Yet few studies have examined social vulnerability in the context of changes specific to coral reef ecosystems. In this paper, we examine three dimensions of vulnerability (exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity) of 29 coastal communities across five western Indian Ocean countries to the impacts of coral bleaching on fishery returns. A key contribution is the development of a novel, network-based approach to examining sensitivity to changes in the fishery that incorporates linkages between fishery and non-fishery occupations. We find that key sources of vulnerability differ considerably within and between the five countries. Our approach allows the visualization of how these dimensions of vulnerability differ from site to site, providing important insights into the types of nuanced policy interventions that may help to reduce vulnerability at a specific location. To complement this, we develop framework of policy actions thought to reduce different aspects of vulnerability at varying spatial and temporal scales. Although our results are specific to reef fisheries impacts from coral bleaching, this approach provides a framework for other types of threats and different social-ecological systems more broadly. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
climate change; coastal zone; coral; coral bleaching; coral reef; economic impact; environmental stress; fishery economics; fishery production; global change; mortality; nature-society relations; policy approach; vulnerability; Indian Ocean; Indian Ocean (West); Anthozoa