PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — New reports from the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) highlight key vulnerabilities and identify priorities and readiness for adaptation to climate change in the fisheries sector of the UK Overseas Territories, Anguilla and Montserrat.
The vulnerability assessment report – based on participatory three-dimensional modelling (P3DM) that captured local knowledge of fisherfolk, community groups and the public and private sector – notes the significant impacts of coastal erosion, more intense storms and storm surge, and sargassum influx on areas critical to fisheries in Anguilla and Montserrat.
These impacts are expected to negatively affect food security and fisheries-based livelihoods, including fishing gear and landing sites, coastal infrastructure and supporting ecosystems like coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves.
Priorities identified for adaptation include building fisherfolk’s adaptive capacity through safety at sea training, access to insurance and diversifying into seamoss farming and other alternatives as well as improving systems for monitoring changes in fisheries and protecting related coastal and marine ecosystems.
The vulnerability assessment report complements the institutional assessment report of readiness of the fisheries sector to adapt to climate change. This institutional assessment involved the use of the World Resources Institute’s Adaptation: Rapid Institutional Analysis (ARIA) toolkit, which focuses on five critical climate change adaptation functions: assessment, prioritisation, coordination, information management and mainstreaming.
Representatives from key agencies responsible for fisheries, environment, coastal and marine management, climate and disaster risk management and finance, as well as fisherfolk and their organisations, were consulted to determine how well each of these functions are being carried out in Anguilla and Montserrat.
Priorities for institutional strengthening in both Overseas Territories include finalising and rolling out draft climate change policies, updating fisheries management plans to include climate change and disaster concerns, and establishing national committees for improved coordination.
CANARI conducted the vulnerability and institutional assessments in collaboration with the Fisheries and Ocean Resources Unit – Montserrat and Department of Fisheries and Marine Resources – Anguilla as part of the Darwin Plus Climate change adaptation in the fisheries of Anguilla and Montserrat project.
These assessments serve as a first step in mainstreaming climate change adaptation in the fisheries sector for enhanced stewardship of the resource and livelihood benefits in Anguilla and Montserrat.