The economic toll of climate change on Bangladesh's aquaculture has been revealed for the first time in a new study published in Climate Risk Management. The research found a staggering USD 140 million in losses from 2011 to 2020, a figure that starkly highlights the vulnerability of this key economic sector in Bangladesh to climate change.
The study, Economic valuation of climate induced losses to aquaculture for evaluating climate information services in Bangladesh, further highlights the value of tools such as Climate Information Services (CIS), estimating that if CIS can offset even 10% of climate-induced damage to aquaculture, its value could be up to USD14 million a year to the industry.
Climate Information Services (CIS) are services that provide targeted and timely information about climate patterns and trends in advance, helping aquatic food systems, policy makers and fisher and fish farmer communities make informed decisions to adapt to climate change.
The studies findings emphasize CIS's potential in not just mitigating risks but also in significantly contributing to the sector's economic stability and growth.
Dr. Rumana Hossain, WorldFish scientist and lead author on the research underscored the real-world impact of the findings. “Our findings are not just numbers; they represent the livelihoods of thousands dependent on aquaculture. The financial losses we’ve identified underscore the urgent need for investment in Climate Information Services which could be a game-changer for our aquaculture industry,” she said.
As Bangladesh navigates its course to mitigate the impacts of climate change, this study is timely and an urgent reminder of the importance of investing in robust climate risk management and information systems.
To reach its finding, the study used an innovative data analysis method, merging online newspaper data with government and satellite datasets to provide a comprehensive view of the climate-related losses faced by the aquaculture industry which could serve as a model for estimating the financial impact of climate change in other data-scarce contexts.