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Impacts, Perceptions and Management of Climate-Related Risks to Cage Aquaculture in the Reservoirs of Northern Thailand

Abstract

Weather is suspected to influence fish growth and survival, and be a factor in mass mortality events in cage aquaculture in reservoirs. The purpose of this study was to identify the important climate-related risks faced by cage aquaculture farms; evaluate how these risks were currently being managed; and explore how farmers might adapt to the effects of climate change. Fish farmers were interviewed across the northern region of Thailand to get information on impacts, perceptions and practices. Drought or low water levels, heat waves, cold spells and periods with dense cloud cover, each caused significant financial losses. Perceptions of climate-related risks were consistent with experienced impacts. Risks are primarily managed in the short-term with techniques like aeration and reducing feed. In the mid-term farmers adjust stocking calendars, take financial measures and seek new information. Farmers also emphasize the importance of maintaining good relations with other stakeholders and reservoir management. Larger farms placed greater importance on risk management than small farms, even though types and levels of risk perceived were very similar. Most fish farms were managed by men alone, or men and women working together. Gender differences in risk perception were not detected, but women judged a few risk management practices as more important than men. Fish farmers perceived that climate is changing, but their perceptions were not strongly associated with recently having suffered impacts from extreme weather. The findings of this study provide important inputs to improving risk management under current and future climate.

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Acknowledgments

The work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, as a contribution to the AQUADAPT project. Thanks to the field assistants, students, officials and farmers who helped with the surveys. Thanks also to the two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful feedback on earlier versions of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Louis Lebel.

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Lebel, L., Lebel, P. & Lebel, B. Impacts, Perceptions and Management of Climate-Related Risks to Cage Aquaculture in the Reservoirs of Northern Thailand. Environmental Management 58, 931–945 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-016-0764-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-016-0764-5

Keywords

  • Drought
  • Climate-related risks
  • Perception
  • Risk management
  • Reservoir
  • Cage aquaculture
  • Thailand