Author/s:

Hossain, M.
Ahmed, M.
Fernandes, J.
Ojea, E.

Publisher:

Elsevier B.V

Year of Publication:

2018

Aquatic ecosystems are of global importance for maintaining high levels of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and for the number of livelihoods dependent on them. In Bangladesh, coastal and delta communities rely on these systems for a livelihood, and the sustainability of the productivity is seriously threatened by both climate change and unsustainable management. These multiple drivers of change shape the livelihood dependence and adaptation responses, where a better understanding is needed to achieve sustainable management in these systems, while maintaining and improving dependent livelihoods. This need has been addressed in this study in the region of Satkhira, in the southwest coast of Bangladesh, where livelihoods are highly dependent on aquatic systems for food supply and income. Traditional wild fish harvest in the rivers and aquaculture systems, including ghers, ponds, and crab points have been changing in terms of the uses and intensity of management, and suffering from climate change impacts as well. By means of six focus groups with 50 participants total, and validated by expert consultations, we conduct an analysis to understand the main perceived impacts from climate and human activities; and the adaptation responses from the aquatic system livelihoods. We find that biodiversity has decreased drastically, while farmed species have increased and shrimp gher farming turned more intensive becoming the main source of income. All these changes have important implications for food supply in the region and environmental sustainability. Dramatic responses taken in the communities include exit the fisheries and migration, and more adaptive responses include species diversification, crab fattening and working more on the pond and gherinfrastructure. This study evidences the results of the combination of multiple stressors in productive systems and the barriers to adaptation in aquatic ecosystem dependent communities.

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