Climate change impacts on the fishing industry

Fishing on the Great Barrier Reef is an important industry for the Queensland and Australian economies and lifestyles.

Climate related changes to the ecosystem are expected to seriously affect Reef-based fishing industries. Changes in ocean circulation, wave generation, cyclones and air and sea temperature may impact productivity with resultant effects for the fishing industry and aquaculture.  

Impacts

Climate change will impact the biological, economic and social aspects of many fisheries. Both positive and negative impacts are expected.

Fisheries will be impacted differently according to the physical changes in the regional environment, for example, south-east fisheries are most likely to be affected by changes in water temperature, northern fisheries by changes in precipitation, and western fisheries by changes in the Leeuwin Current.

Outlook

It is likely that the biological, social and economic aspects associated with commercial and recreational fishing may be highly sensitive to climate change.

New opportunities may be created as the distribution of fish shifts southward. In addition, there is potential for adaptation measures to be employed by some sectors of industry.