• Climate change impact and adaptation: Lagoonal fishing communities in west Africa

      Davies-Vollum, K. Sian; Raha, Debadayita; Koomson, Daniel; University of Derby (Springer, 2021-01-08)
      Lagoons are a common feature of the low-lying West African coastline. These lagoons are resource-rich and biodiverse. The small-scale fishing communities, which border them, are dependent on the resources and ecosystem services for their livelihoods and well-being. Climate change has had significant and diverse effects on both the lagoons and their surrounding communities. Sea level rise has caused erosion of the coast and increased the risk of floods. Changes to rainfall patterns have caused shifts in lagoon ecosystems and physical cycles. Of particular relevance to lagoon fishing communities is the fluctuation in quantity and distribution of fish catch that they rely upon for economic livelihood. Understanding the vulnerability of these communities to the effects of climate change is critical to supporting and developing successful adaptations. Using a case study from Ghana, sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) and vulnerability framework are used to characterize the community vulnerability, giving insight into the temporal and spatial dynamics of vulnerability and how subsections of the community may be identified and prioritized for adaptation interventions. A scalar analysis of the relevant coastal and environmental frameworks and policy to support climate change adaptation in coastal communities reveals the common challenges in implementing adaptation interventions and strategies in the region. A policy gap exists between high level, institutional coastal, and climate directives and implementation of climate adaptations at the local level. That gap might be bridged by a participatory approach that places coastal communities at the center of creating and enacting climate change adaptations.