Climate Change: Vulnerability and Resilience in Commercial Shrimp Aquaculture in Bangladesh

Climate Change: Vulnerability and Resilience in Commercial Shrimp Aquaculture in Bangladesh

Shaikh Mohammad Kais (University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1607-1.ch006
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Abstract

Global aquaculture is one of the key features of present global agro-food systems. Though aquaculture is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, its growth trajectory is confronted with various challenges including climate disruptions. Since both aquaculture and climate change have regional variations, their interconnections are very complex and require systematic investigation. In various regions of the world, especially in the Global South, aquaculture countries are assessing those interconnections and devising resilience-enhancing programs for the development of the sector. Thorough investigations are required for a comprehensive understanding of the complex interconnections between climate vulnerability and resilience of global aquaculture. Drawing on primary and secondary data from the Bangladesh shrimp sector, and using conceptual lenses of global climate change and resilience, this chapter critically examines how the industrial shrimp aquaculture in Bangladesh is affected by climate disruptions and how the shrimp farming communities address these challenges.
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Introduction

Global aquaculture is one of the key contours in the sociology of global agro-food system. With its increasing role in the world economy and food security in the context of the exhaustion of marine fisheries, global aquaculture demands considerable scholarly attention. Though aquaculture is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, its growth trajectory is confronted with various challenges – a number of which come from global climate change. Since both aquaculture and climate change have regional variations, their interconnections are very complex that require systematic investigation. In various regions of the world, especially in the Global South, aquaculture countries are assessing those interconnections and devising resilience-enhancing programmes for the development of the sector. Thorough investigations are required for a comprehensive understanding of the complex interconnections between climate disruptions and associated vulnerabilities and resilience of global aquaculture.

From economic crisis to climate disturbances, the challenges for humanity today are varied and interlinked (FAO, 2012). Climate change is no longer viewed only as a potential threat, it is an unavoidable real-life event; an outcome of 200 years of excessive green-house gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel combustion in energy generation, transport and industry, deforestation, and intensive agriculture (IPCC, 2015; Williams & Rota, 2013). For ecological, physical and social systems and communities, climate change implications are intense and unsettling. Climate change impacts human communities in many ways – the majority of which are compound, indirect, and ambiguous (Pelling, 2011), so that scientific exploration of the total dynamics becomes problematic. The scientific community now warns that global climate change will have unprecedented repercussions on the natural setting of the earth, flora and fauna, and human life and activities (Islam, 2013; McKinnon, 2012; MoEF, 2009; Pelling, 2011; UNEP, 2010; World Bank, 2013).

Climate disruptions act as external stresses and perturbations to ecological and social systems or communities making them vulnerable. Only a resilient system (or community) can successfully overcome stresses including climate disruptions. Resilience to climate change of a community can be defined as a combination of resistance to frequent and severe disturbances, capacity for recovery and self-organization, and ability to adapt to new conditions (IPCC, 2007). In other words, with regard to climate change, resilience denotes the capacity of a community to absorb shocks posed by the global climate change. Enhancing resilience of a climate-challenged community is a core element of disaster management and risk reduction.

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