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Climate Change Effects on Shrimp Farming Discussed

the Fish Site Editor
11 December 2009, at 12:00am

INDIA - The Aquaclimate project from Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) is taking up the case of small-scale shrimp farming in Andhra Pradesh to investigate the impacts and adaptation to climate change.

Andhra Pradesh has had many weather related impacts in recent years such as the worst drought in half a century, which occurred in early to mid-2009, followed by a severe flood of once in 100 years in October 2009. According to NACA, these extreme climatic events have had severe consequences including heavy economic losses to shrimp farmers in the state.

This case study aims to assess the degree of vulnerability of the small-scale shrimp farmers in Andhra Pradesh, and to provide guidelines on suitable measures to assist them to adapt to climate change and sustain their livelihoods.

On 3 December 2009, two focus group discussion workshops on the impacts of and adaption to climate change were conducted with sixteen small-scale shrimp farmers in Chinnapuram (an inland area), and seventeen in Gullalamoda (a coastal area), respectively, in Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh.

Focus group discussion is a participatory process that involves all participants to obtain their perceptions, in this case about climate change impacts and adaptation measures that are being used or that they think could be used to adapt to climate change. The focus group discussions were facilitated by a skilled moderator using a semi-structured discussion guide.

On the following day, a larger stakeholder workshop was conducted in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, with shrimp farming stakeholders. The focus group discussion results about the key impacts on shrimp farmers from climate change from the previous day’s workshops were presented to the stakeholder workshop participants and were used as the starting point for group discussions.

The focus group discussion and stakeholder workshop were conducted in Telugu language and English with translations between the two languages. High levels of participation were observed from all stakeholders about the key climate change impacts and current and possible adaptations.

The stakeholder workshop was attended by 90 stakeholders including eighteen small-scale grow out shrimp farmers, five hatchery operators, four fishermen (shrimp broodstock collectors), five non government organisation (NGO) representatives, five inputs dealers, five aquaculture consultants, four credit institutions representatives, sixteen government officials in aquaculture development and policy, ten researchers and the fourteen local and four international project partners.

International partners supporting the workshop included Dr Nigel William Abery the overall project coordinator from the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA), Dr Udaya S. Nagothu from Bioforsk, Norway, Ms Sirisuda Jumnongsong from Kasetsart University, Thailand and Ms Jocelyn Hernandez from Akvaplan-niva, Norway. Local partners included Dr M. Muralidhar, local coordinator and Dr M. Kumaran, local co-coordinator from Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture (CIBA) and N. R. Umesh from National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) part of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA).

The use of such participatory processes (the facilitated semi-structured focus group discussion and facilitated stakeholder workshop) in assessing the impacts and adaptation of aquaculture to climate change was a novel technique for the shrimp farmers and stakeholders in Andhra Pradesh.

The stakeholder workshop participants discussed adaptation measures in three key themes: farmer adaptation measures, scientific/technical adaptation measures and institutional/policy adaptation measures.

Stakeholders suggested that these types of workshops about climate change in relation to shrimp farming should be repeated more often as farmers generally interact among themselves in their local area and not with other farmers outside their area, scientists and government officials. Such meetings provide them with an opportunity to express their problems and opinion about climate change to high ranking officials.

Government officials in particular felt that it is good to have stakeholder workshops like these as it exposes them to the issues that the farmers are concerned about. During the workshop it was generally expressed that there is a clear need for the development of policy related to climate change adaptation to enhance shrimp farmers’ adaptive capacity.

Next steps in the Aquaclimate project will include collection and analysis of secondary data about climate, geography, aquaculture production and related issues, together with primary data through a survey of shrimp farmers in parts of Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh about their perceptions about climate change/global warming impacts, farmer vulnerability, adaptive capacity, mitigation measures and their livelihoods.