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Regional News

Aquaculture and climate change in Micronesia

RICHARD Brooks of Lightning Strikes Production in Palau said  one way to mitigate the impact of climate change on Micronesian aquaculture is to have it in protected coastal areas.

Currently, Eucheuma seaweed and sponge are cultured around Pohnpei and Chuuk, and have proven to be commercially feasible.

In Yap, milkfish or Chanos chanos and shrimp are part of a mariculture program.

Three years ago, the formation of the Micronesian Association for Sustainable Aquaculture was endorsed at the 15th Micronesia Presidents Summit.

Research conducted by the University of California-Santa Barbara recommends proactive measures to protect global food security.

“Climate change is impacting marine aquatic farmers now, and it’s likely to get worse for most of the world if we don’t take mitigating measures,” said research lead author Halley Froehlich.

“Warming sea surface temperatures, ocean acidification and changes in algae, a primary food source for oysters and other bivalves, are indications for future aquaculture strategy,” she added.

She said farmers need to adapt by moving or placing farms in more favorable ocean patches according to changing conditions.

“Government intervention is significant in aquaculture by providing permits and leases for growing different species, and setting those locations now with the future in mind which will help avoid putting things in riskier places just as it is for land farmers. The aquatic farmers are on the front lines of climate change, and they need to be prepared for what’s to come. Their planning needs support by governments.”