Climate change impacts on marine biodiversity, fisheries and society in the Arabian Gulf

Colette C.C. Wabnitz, Vicky W.Y. Lam, Gabriel Reygondeau, Lydia C.L. Teh, Dalal Al-Abdulrazzak, Myriam Khalfallah, Daniel Pauly, Maria L. Deng Palomares, Dirk Zeller, William W.L. Cheung

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24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change–reflected in significant environmental changes such as warming, sea level rise, shifts in salinity, oxygen and other ocean conditions–is expected to impact marine organisms and associated fisheries. This study provides an assessment of the potential impacts on, and the vulnerability of, marine biodiversity and fisheries catches in the Arabian Gulf under climate change. To this end, using three separate niche modelling approaches under a ‘business-as-usual’ climate change scenario, we projected the future habitat suitability of the Arabian Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf) for 55 expert-identified priority species, including charismatic and non-fish species. Second, we conducted a vulnerability assessment of national economies to climate change impacts on fisheries. The modelling outputs suggested a high rate of local extinction (up to 35% of initial species richness) by 2090 relative to 2010. Spatially, projected local extinctions are highest in the southwestern part of the Gulf, off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While the projected patterns provided useful indicators of potential climate change impacts on the region’s diversity, the magnitude of changes in habitat suitability are more uncertain. Fisheries-specific results suggested reduced future catch potential for several countries on the western side of the Gulf, with projections differing only slightly among models. Qatar and the UAE were particularly affected, with more than a 26% drop in future fish catch potential. Integrating changes in catch potential with socio-economic indicators suggested the fisheries of Bahrain and Iran may be most vulnerable to climate change. We discuss limitations of the indicators and the methods used, as well as the implications of our overall findings for conservation and fisheries management policies in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0194537
JournalPLoS One
Volume13
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

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    Wabnitz, C. C. C., Lam, V. W. Y., Reygondeau, G., Teh, L. C. L., Al-Abdulrazzak, D., Khalfallah, M., Pauly, D., Deng Palomares, M. L., Zeller, D., & Cheung, W. W. L. (2018). Climate change impacts on marine biodiversity, fisheries and society in the Arabian Gulf. PLoS One, 13(5), [e0194537]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194537