Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 657–669 | Cite as

Trends in landings of fish species potentially affected by climate change in Portuguese fisheries

  • Célia M. Teixeira
  • Rita Gamito
  • Francisco Leitão
  • Henrique N. Cabral
  • Karim Erzini
  • Maria J. Costa
Original Article

Abstract

Fisheries are an important source of food, with a high economic value and social significance. The present worrying situation of the world fisheries is the result of the interaction between different factors (e.g. climatic variations, natural oscillations, technological innovation), but the greatest challenges are overfishing and climate change. The species richness of the Portuguese coast is generally higher than that found in northern Europe and similar to that of the Mediterranean, since many species have their southern or northern distribution limits along the Portuguese coast. The zoogeographic importance of this latitudinal area has long been recognized, representing the transition between north-eastern Atlantic warm-temperate and cold-temperate regions, which makes the Portuguese coast an area of great sensitivity to the detection of climate change. Official landing data for commercial species that have the Portuguese coast as their distribution limit were analysed together with sea surface temperature for the period of 1927–2011. In general, landings of species with affinity for temperate waters presented a decreasing trend, whereas species with affinity for subtropical/tropical waters showed an increasing trend. These variations were associated with variation in temperature: lower landings of temperate species occurred mainly in warm years, whereas landings of subtropical/tropical species presented an opposite trend, with higher landings in warm years. Preparing for the impacts of climate change is crucial for the sustainability of fisheries. Management should take into consideration information about environmental factors that affect species distribution and abundance.

Keywords

Fisheries Commercial landings Climate change Portugal 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study had the support of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) (Pest-OE/MAR/UI0199/2011). Célia M. Teixeira was funded with a Post-doc Grant (SFRH/BPD/62986/2009), Rita Gamito was funded with a PhD Grant (SFRH/BD/78363/2011) and Francisco Leitão was funded with a Post-doc Grant (SFRH/BPD/63935/2009) by the FCT.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Célia M. Teixeira
    • 1
  • Rita Gamito
    • 1
  • Francisco Leitão
    • 2
  • Henrique N. Cabral
    • 1
  • Karim Erzini
    • 2
  • Maria J. Costa
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Oceanografia, Faculdade de CiênciasUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Ciências do MarUniversidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal

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