Climate change will affect aquaculture production in Asia, which accounts for almost 90 percent of global aquaculture production. Consequently, aquaculture in Bangladesh, one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, is also expected to suffer, said Cherdsak Virapat, director general of the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (Cirdap).
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“Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam have been identified as the most vulnerable countries worldwide,” he said. The Cirdap and the Bangladesh Shrimp and Fish Foundation (BSFF) organised the seminar, styled ‘Promoting Climate Resilient Aquaculture and Fisheries for Integrated Rural Development in Bangladesh’, at the Cirdap Auditorium in the capital yesterday.

During his presentation, Virapat said: “The impacts of climate change are serious and must be addressed now because the longer we fail to take action, the bigger the cost to remediate the impacts.” Preemptive mitigation of climate change should be a key consideration for the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector, he added.

Speaking about overcoming these challenges, Virapat said four strategic actions need to be established. The first is increasing climate resilience of farmers, farming systems, and breeds available for farming.

The second is to increase the capacity to manage short- and long-term climate risks and reduce losses from weather-related disasters. The third action should be improving sustainability of genetic diversity in brood stocks as a resource for long-term and continuous adaptation to climate change.

And finally, the third initiative should be finding potential and developing the capacity of aquaculture in mitigating the impact of and/or sequestrating the release of greenhouse gas emissions. He also pointed out a way forward, seeking to define adaptation strategies for the main environmental, disease and genetic threats caused by climate change in order to inform and guide aquaculture community. Virapat also underlined the need for improved water storage capacity and effective water utilisation for agriculture, industry and households and reduced fishing pressure along coastal areas.