Planning for Production of Freshwater Fish Fry in a Variable Climate in Northern Thailand


Provision of adequate numbers of quality fish fry is often a key constraint on aquaculture development. The management of climate-related risks in hatchery and nursery management operations has not received much attention, but is likely to be a key element of successful adaptation to climate change in the aquaculture sector. This study explored the sensitivities and vulnerability of freshwater fish fry production in 15 government hatcheries across Northern Thailand to climate variability and evaluated the robustness of the proposed adaptation measures. This study found that hatcheries have to consider several factors when planning production, including: taking into account farmer demand; production capacity of the hatchery; availability of water resources; local climate and other area factors; and, individual species requirements. Nile tilapia is the most commonly cultured species of freshwater fish. Most fry production is done in the wet season, as cold spells and drought conditions disrupt hatchery production and reduce fish farm demand in the dry season. In the wet season, some hatcheries are impacted by floods. Using a set of scenarios to capture major uncertainties and variability in climate, this study suggests a couple of strategies that should help make hatchery operations more climate change resilient, in particular: improving hatchery operations and management to deal better with risks under current climate variability; improving monitoring and information systems so that emerging climate-related risks are known sooner and understood better; and, research and development on alternative species, breeding programs, improving water management and other features of hatchery operations.

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The work was carried out with an aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, as a contribution to the AQUADAPT project. Thanks to the many students, officials, and farmers who helped with the surveys and expert meetings.

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Correspondence to Louis Lebel.

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Uppanunchai, A., Apirumanekul, C. & Lebel, L. Planning for Production of Freshwater Fish Fry in a Variable Climate in Northern Thailand. Environmental Management 56, 859–873 (2015).

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  • Tilapia
  • Flood
  • Drought
  • Aquaculture
  • Hatchery
  • Climate change
  • Scenarios