Assessing vulnerability and adaptive capacity of the fisheries sector in Dominica: Long-term climate change and catastrophic hurricanes

John K. Pinnegar, Georg H. Engelhard, Norman J. Norris, Derrick Theophille, Riviere Delanco Sebastien

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34 Citations (Scopus)


The Commonwealth of Dominica is a Small Island Developing State in the eastern Caribbean, that has been subject to a wide variety of natural hazards over the past century, most recently the Category 5-Hurricane Maria on 18-19 September 2017. In Dominica fishing remains important for income generation and for local food security. While there are small-scale reef and demersal fisheries, pelagic fisheries have tended to dominate in recent years and fishers make extensive use of Fish Aggregating Devices. Climate Vulnerability Assessments (CVAs) provide a coherent framework for evaluating potential impacts over a broad range of species, and also socio-ecological systems. These methods assess the "exposure" to a stressor (climate change and/or hurricane events), the "sensitivity" to that stressor, and the "adaptive capacity" within fishing communities faced with potential threats. These three components are then combined to estimate overall "vulnerability". In this study we make use of fisheries catch data from landing ports around Dominica, to assess how each of Dominica's ten parishes differ in terms of climate vulnerability. We examine information on species' temperature preferences and life-history traits as well as data on social vulnerability. We then compare our predictions with observed damage following Hurricane Maria, using the 2017 Post-disaster Needs Assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1367
Number of pages15
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2019


  • adaptive capacity
  • climate
  • exposure
  • fisheries
  • sensitivity
  • vulnerability

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