Marine Heat Waves Are Putting Caribbean Fisheries In Hot Water

Small-scale fisheries are a critical component of the social and economic and fabric of coastal communities in the Caribbean and are key to the region’s food security, with annual fish consumption ranging between 10 and 35 kg/capita per year (FAO, 2014). But marine heat waves (MHW) or extended periods of anomalously warm ocean temperatures1 can have major impacts on marine biodiversity and ecosystems, and are a significant threat to the regional fisheries sector. A 2019 study in journal, Nature Climate Change, reports that coral reefs in the Caribbean have been among the hardest hit by heat waves, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation has found that the Caribbean fisheries sector is most vulnerable to climate change in the world. (Monnereau, 2017)

According to a September article in journal, Science, as global warming makes oceans hotter, marine heat waves (MHW) have become at least 20 times more likely. “The duration,

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