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Fisheries Italy

Vulnerabilities - Italy

In the Mediterranean in particular, the following impacts are expected for marine fisheries (1):

  • fish stock movements;
  • anthropogenic stress strengthening the consequences of climate change (overfishing, pollution, human-induced fragmentation and loss of habitatand tourism activities are already jeopardising the sustainability of Mediterranean fisheries);
  • trans-boundary aquatic infections (potential increase and expansion of diseases in aquaculture and expansion of exotic pests).

Aquaculture could be particularly affected in North-Adriatic coastal wetlands. Some studies (2) highlighted that climate change impacts, namely scarce rainfall and presence of certain seaweed, could result in up to 20-22% reduction in clam production.

The Mediterranean Sea is warming in both shallow and deep waters (5). This warming is part of global climate trends and not a regional phenomenon (4). Fisheries landings fluctuations of the seven Mediterranean EU member states (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Malta and Cyprus) during 1985-2008 were examined for the most abundant commercial species (59 species) and showed significant year-to-year correlations with temperature for nearly 60 % of the cases (4). From these, the majority (~70 %) were negatively related and showed a reduction of 44 % on average. Increasing trends were found, mainly in the landings of species with short life spans, which seem to have benefited from the increase in water temperature. These results indicate that climate should be examined together with fisheries as a factor shaping stock fluctuations (4). The reason why the landings of some species have increased or decreased with temperature oscillations may be related to stock spawning periods (4). An indirect effect of warming could also be related to food availability (potential modification of fish abundance by climate change through fluctuations in plankton abundance (6).

An overall assessment of the impact of climate change on fishery cannot be made yet due to a lack of studies on economic impacts of sea temperature warming for the Mediterranean and in particular for the Italian fisheries sector (3).

Adaptation strategies

In general, possible adaptation strategies for this sector focus mainly on sustainable management of fisheries at national and international level and on enhancing complementary activities such as aquaculture (3).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Italy.

  1. EEA (2008), in: Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy (2009)
  2. Viaroli et al. (2007), in: Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy (2009)
  3. Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy (2009)
  4. Tzanatos et al. (2014)
  5. Vargas-Yáñez et al. (2008); Nykjaer (2009); Raitsos et al. (2010), all in: Tzanatos et al. (2014)
  6. Blanchard et al. (2012); Woodworth-Jefcoats et al. (2013), both in: Tzanatos et al. (2014)