Climate change leads to rising sea temperatures, making fish stocks migrate toward colder waters away from equatorial latitudes, and contributing to shrinking fish sizes. It also influences the abundance, migratory patterns, and mortality rates of wild fish stocks.
In East Africa, ocean warming has already destroyed parts of the coral reef where certain species live, and reduced fish stocks. In some West African countries, such as in Sierra Leone, rising sea levels have resulted in the flooding of coastal zones, deepening the vulnerability of coastal populations.
Globally, it is predicted that climate change will reduce fish catches by 7.7 percent and revenues from it by 10.4 percent by 2050 under a high CO2 emissions scenario (Lam, Cheung, Reygondeau, Sumaila, 2016). This decrease in the catch may be as much of a drop as 26 percent in some parts of West Africa, and could be even higher for in other parts of West Africa countries closer to the equator: a 53 percent drop in fish in Nigeria, 56 percent in Cote d’Ivoire, and 60 percent in Ghana.
More than 12 million people are engaged in the fisheries sector in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank, with remarkable employment multiplier effects: for every fisherman’s job, 1.04 additional onshore-jobs are created in Mauritania, and 3.15 in Guinea.