Fishers’ response to temperature change reveals the importance of integrating human behavior in climate change analysis

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Science Advances  30 Apr 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 18, eabc7425
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc7425


Climate change will reshape ecological dynamics. Yet, how temperature increases alter the behavior and resource use of people reliant on natural resources remains underexplored. Consequent behavior shifts have the potential to mitigate or accelerate climate impacts on livelihoods and food security. Particularly within the small-scale inland fisheries that support approximately 10% of the global population, temperature changes likely affect both fish and fishers. To analyze how changing temperatures alter households’ fishing behavior, we examined fishing effort and fish catch in a major inland fishery. We used longitudinal observational data from households in Cambodia, which has the highest per-capita consumption of inland fish in the world. Higher temperatures caused households to reduce their participation in fishing but had limited net effects on fish catch. Incorporating human behavioral responses to changing environmental conditions will be fundamental to determining how climate change affects rural livelihoods, food production, and food access.

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