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Climate change can reduce shrimp catches in equatorial Brazil

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Abstract

Shrimps are an important and valuable fishing resource, being increasingly exploited worldwide, demanding appropriate management. However, factors such as how shrimps are affected by environmental variables and how such variables are likely to change under a climate change scenario are still poorly known. We used a Brazilian database with 10 years of shrimp catch and effort data, from 20 different small-scale equatorial fishing ports, to test how shrimp fishing productivity is affected by environmental (sea surface temperature (SST), wind, precipitation, and cloudiness), economic (ex-vessel price), spatial (fishing port), and temporal factors (year and month). The results showed that better productivities are reached at higher SST (to a limit 26 °C) and precipitation. Time (year) and space (different fishing villages showed different fishing success) also affected the fishing success. Considering that both temperature and precipitation were important determinants of shrimp productivity, we estimated how such productivity would be affected by climate change. Our results suggest that these fisheries could collapse in a warmer and drier future, which is a possible scenario for the region. Overall, a better understanding of regional shrimp fisheries could permit the development of tailor-made management measures. Besides, this study also shows how an economically important invertebrate stock is sensitive to climate change, which is a warning signal to developing countries, where there is a significant parcel of its population directly dependent on fishery exploitation.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the fishers from Baía Formosa for helping us in the trawling sampling and for sharing with us their shrimp grounds. We also thank Rayssa Melo for organizing the data and Ludmila Damásio for making the map. Finally, we thank CNPq/MPA for the grant 407046/2012-7. Both PFML and FF thank CNPq for a productivity grant.

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Correspondence to Priscila F. M. Lopes.

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Lopes, P.F.M., Pennino, M.G. & Freire, F. Climate change can reduce shrimp catches in equatorial Brazil. Reg Environ Change 18, 223–234 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-017-1203-8

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