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10.2.15

Alexander von Humboldt Fellow to study impact of climate change on coastal aquaculture

Aquaculture scientist Prof. Dr. Nesar Ahmed from the Bangladesh Agricultural University has been granted a year’s research stay at the ZMT, funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. His project deals with the impact of climate change on coastal aquaculture and treats the issue from an ecological and socio-economic perspective.

In Bangladesh, aquaculture makes an important contribution to the national economy. On the coast there are large industrial plants where shrimp are grown mainly for export to Europe, the USA and Japan. However, fish and crustaceans from ponds also provide a basis for self-sufficiency for many residents in the hinterland of the coast. The culture of freshwater fish in house ponds is increasing rapidly. Initially, these ponds were created for washing or watering purposes, now they provide the population with a vital source of protein.

“This is a sustainable form of aquaculture without environmental damage and therefore especially worthy of protection,” said Ahmed. “As a result of climate change, these ponds are affected by storm floods with increasing frequency. The rise in the sea level also takes its toll, particularly in the vast delta areas of the country.” Traditionally held species such as carp, catfish and perch are not able to cope with the resulting severe fluctuations of the salt content of the water.

With his project, Nesar Ahmed wants to develop a conceptual framework on how to bring these damaging influences of climate change under control and direct these towards a positive development. At the ZMT he will collaborate with ecophysiologists and social scientists. “I want to develop adaptation strategies to give policy makers a basis for making decisions,” said Ahmed. His approaches include integrated farming with various salt-tolerant species as well as initiatives for mangrove reforestation and dike building in which the local communities participate.

Prof. Nesar Ahmed is a Fellow in the WG Social-Ecological Systems Analysis.

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