Warming of the Indian Ocean at a fast pace owing to climate change poses a threat to the multi-million dollar blue economy of India, scientists said in Kochi on Thursday.
Climate change is affecting fisheries through change in stock productivity and its distribution, they said during the opening session of a 'Winter School on Climate Change in Marine Fisheries' being organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute in the city.
The change in climate change is causing floods and drought across the globe, Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies A Ramachandran said while inaugurating the 21-day school which would provide a platform for an academic-oriented discussion on the effect of climate change on marine species.
Increased water temperature and higher carbon dioxide concentration make the ocean more acidic, he said.
There would be a drop in productivity of marine species as there was a gradual damage being caused to the ecosystem and biodiversity, the Vice-Chancellor said.
Commitment of the stakeholders and coordinated efforts were required for the growth of the blue economy in a sustainable way, he said.
Indian Ocean is warming at 0.11C per decade faster than the Atlantic (0.07C) and the Pacific (0.05C) and the temperature of the sea surface of the Indian Ocean would increase by 0.60 C by 2050, said director of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute A Gopalakrishnan.
"However, Indian marine fish harvesting is more eco-friendly than the global scenario. Our marine fisheries is emitting 17.5 per cent less carbon footprints than the global average when it comes to fishing material involved in fishery," he said.
The institute has catalogued resource-wise information and the institute was in the process of predicting fish bio-mass changes in Indian oceans in future, he said.
It has also prepared adaptation strategies to climate change with actionplan and research on estimating primary productivity of Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for assessing the carrying capacity in Indian waters with respect to climate change was also underway, Gopalakrishnan said.
Course director of the winter school and head of the Demersal Fisheries division of the marine fisheries research institute P U Zacharia said the country experienced 24 extreme climatic events around the Indian coasts resulting in loss of life and property.
"Estimate of climate change impact is essential to devise climate change policies and suggest adaptation and mitigation measures," he said.
The Winter School is aimed at equipping scientists, researchers and other stakeholders with the tools and requisite knowledge to assess and adapt to the changes occurring because of climatic variations, said the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute.
As many as 25 researchers and teachers were participating the in the programme.