27 Apr 2010

Study examines decline of coastal fisheries in Pacific

1:44 pm on 27 April 2010

A group of marine researchers from around the Pacific has set out a plan to try to figure out how great a role climate change is playing in the decline of coastal fisheries.

The team of 20 biologists, modelers, economists and monitoring experts is being funded by AusAid to conduct a two-year study on coastal ecosystems in at least five Pacific nations.

One of the researchers, marine scientist Johanna Johnson, says it may be tempting to attribute the decline in coastal fisheries to climate change, but there are many other factors in play too.

"Things like impacts from land activities, so things like runoff of sediments and nutrients from the land will have influence on coastal fisheries. There's also going to be influences from things like storms. And obviously fishing activity itself is going to influence the fish and the invertebrates in those systems."

Johanna Johnson says the health of coastal fisheries is vital to the economies of many Pacific nations.