Impacts of Climate Change on Small Pelagic Fish Catches in the Coastal Artisanal Fishers Communities of Tanzania

Lyidia Kapapa, Paul Onyango, Nibedita Mukherjee, Prosper Mfilinge


Climate-related effects occur across all regions in Tanzania, affecting primary sectors such as agriculture and fishing. This study investigated the impacts of climatic change on small pelagic catches in fishers in Kilindoni, Kipumbwi and Kilwa Kivinje villages along the Tanzanian coast. We studied how changes in rainfall, sea surface temperature, wind speed and chlorophyll a affect small pelagic fisheries using primary and secondary data. Qualitative and quantitative methods were applied. Primary data collection involved questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Secondary data was obtained from Tanzania Meteorological Agency and remote sensing from Modi's sensor. Results showed an increase in sea surface temperature (tau = 0.0151, 0.0121, 0.0238 for Kilindoni, Kilwa Kivinje and Kipumbwi, respectively) and unpredictable changes in rainfall patterns which affected small pelagic fisheries. The average rainfall was 284.6, 97.5 and 56.4 mm in Kilindoni, Kilwa Kivinje and Kipumbwi, respectively. In recent years, rain has been unreliable compared to the past 20 years. Unpredictable rainfall, increased sea surface temperature, wind speed and chlorophyll a had negatively impacted the small pelagic fishery. There was a strong relationship between the decline of small pelagic catches and climatic variables. The findings of this study have implications for coastal fisher's livelihood, income and food security.

Keywords:  Coastal communities; small pelagic fishery; climate change; fisheries; livelihood

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