Exploring the health impacts of climate change in subsistence fishing communities throughout Micronesia: a narrative review

Lauren Hodgson, Gabriela Fernando, Nina Lansbury

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

For many people living in low-income coastal communities, marine resources provide a crucial source of animal protein and are of major nutritional importance. However, because of various human-induced pressures, such as overfishing and poor resource management, marine resources are deteriorating at an unprecedented rate. Climate change effects this dynamic by contributing directly to marine resource deterioration and acting as an effect multiplier, worsening already-present problems in the systems. This deterioration threatens the viability of marine resources to support future food security demands and presents multiple health implications for coastal communities that rely upon these resources. This research used a narrative review to explore how the impacts of climate change are projected to impact human health and sustainable development throughout subsistence fishing communities. A case study approach focusing on the Pacific Ocean region of Micronesia was conducted to provide a practical indication of the future scenario applicable to other geographical regions across the globe. The results indicate that climate change is likely to exacerbate adverse health outcomes such as food insecurity, ciguatera fish poisoning, heatstroke, and mental health problems and that climate change may lead to the deterioration of traditional cultural practices. As the climate crisis is happening now and will be an issue extending into the foreseeable future, it is necessary to implement adaptation strategies, funding, and governance to limit global emissions, preserve marine resources, and support human well-being. Therefore, this research details adaptation strategies, such as diversifying fish catch and reviving traditional postharvest preservation methods, that may help communities adapt to climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-669
Number of pages17
JournalWeather, Climate, and Society
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Climate change; Adaptation
  • Health

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