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Does climate change matter for freshwater aquaculture in Bangladesh?

Abstract

Freshwater aquaculture plays an important role in the economy of Bangladesh, providing food, income, livelihoods and export earnings. However, freshwater aquaculture in the Mymensingh area of north-central Bangladesh has been accompanied by recent concerns over climate change. Field survey revealed that different climatic variables including flood, drought, rainfall variation and temperature fluctuation have had adverse effects on pond-fish culture. These climatic variables have detrimental effects on the ecosystem of ponds and thus affect survival, growth and production of fish. Changes in climatic variables have adverse effects on fish reproduction, grow-out operation, parasite infestation and disease occurrence. Considering vulnerability to the effects of climate change on pond-fish culture, we propose adaptation strategies that need to be introduced to cope with the challenges.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Bangladesh fiscal year: 1 July–30 June.

  2. 2.

    Freshwater aquaculture in Bangladesh can be divided into: (1) pond-fish culture, (2) rice-fish farming, (3) cage culture and (4) floodplain aquaculture. This article deals with pond-fish culture which is dominant among farming systems.

  3. 3.

    El Niño is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation, refers to the cycle of warm temperatures that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean.

  4. 4.

    Bangladesh is often called a “land of rivers”.

  5. 5.

    The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world, located along the mouth of the Bay of Bengal between Bangladesh and India.

  6. 6.

    Other climatic variables, including cyclone, salinity and sea level rise affect coastal aquaculture (Ahmed and Diana 2015b).

  7. 7.

    The World Food Prize 2012 was awarded to Dr Daniel Hillel for his role in implementing micro-irrigation.

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Acknowledgments

The study was supported through the Fulbright Fellowship by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board of the US Government. The study was a part of the first author’s research work under the Fulbright Fellowship Program at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, USA. Thanks to two reviewers and editor for their helpful comments. The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the authors.

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Correspondence to Nesar Ahmed.

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Editor: Elena Bennett.

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Ahmed, N., Diana, J.S. Does climate change matter for freshwater aquaculture in Bangladesh?. Reg Environ Change 16, 1659–1669 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-015-0899-6

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Keywords

  • Fish culture
  • Pond ecosystem
  • Climatic variables
  • Vulnerability
  • Adaptation