Economic and Labour Market Implications of Climate Change on the Fisheries Sector of the Maltese Islands

Authors: L. Knittweis

Corresponding: L. Knittweis (

Keywords: climate change, sheries, economic impacts, sheries management, Mediterranean Sea


Issue: Xjenza Online Vol. 3 Iss. 2 - December 2015

Climate change has been predicted to have large and rapid impacts on the Mediterranean Sea. Impacts of increasing mean annual sea temperatures, more extreme climatic events and changes in oceanographic parameters will affect the distribution, productivity and resilience of commercially targeted stocks. This study uses data on the Maltese shing industry, collected through the EU sheries data collection system by the Government of Malta, to develop our understanding of how climate change may impact the Maltese sheries sector. The most important eet segment contributing to the overall productivity of the Maltese shing industry, both in terms of total biomass landed and total generated income, was comprised of vessels using hooks in 2009-2011. These vessels mainly used drifting surface longlines to target large pelagic species. In 2011, this eet segment accounted for the largest number of full time employment positions, and was the most important eet segment in terms of total investment. Available information on species targeted by this eet segment suggests that the impact of climate change may in fact be positive. However, limited information is available on stock status as well as on the potential impacts of climate change on several important target species such as sword sh, dolphin sh and blue n tuna. In order to ensure the continued competitiveness of the Maltese shing eet in light of this uncertain situation, it is suggested that an emphasis is placed on ensuring that the industry is exible and able to effectively market and promote new products as and when they emerge. This could be achieved by developing shers' skills accordingly, and placing an emphasis on diversifying activities.

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