Possible Effects of El Niño on Some
Philippine Marine Fisheries Resources

Amor M. Damatac II and Mudjekeewis D. Santos*

1National Fisheries Research and Development Institute,
101 Mother Ignacia Street, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philipines

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


El Niño is the warm phase of extreme climatic phenomenon observed in the equatorial Pacific. Over the past decades, frequent El Niño events have been observed and pose a great threat to biodiversity. This paper reviews the possible effects of El Niño on some marine fisheries resources based on past events. Reporting mostly the effects from 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 events, El Niño affected factors involved in ocean- atmospheric interactions such as sea surface temperature, salinity, nutrient availability, precipitation rate, and ocean currents, precipitation rate, and tropical typhoons in the equatorial Pacific. As a result, changes in these factors influenced marine organisms leading to increased phytoplankton biomass and widespread coral bleaching, and possibly resulting to fish kills, occurrence of seaweed diseases and threats to marine mammals. It affected pelagic fish species leading to migration or change in catch production. The data in this paper raise concerns on the predicted impact of El Niño on food security. Considering our susceptibility, key researchable areas need to happen to support management strategies that will mitigate possible effects of El Niño in the country.

The Philippines has been assessed as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of extreme weather brought by climate change (Harmeling, 2010; Santos et al., 2011).  The direct effects of climate change can occur through alteration in the behavior, morphology, and physiology of individual organisms, leading to a cumulative change resulting in ecosystem regime shifts (Food and Agriculture Organization, 2000; Brierly & Kingsford, 2009;Portner & Peck, 2010;  Doney, et al., 2012).Climate change is projected to impact the marine sector and this scenario poses great pressure to the livelihood and food security among Filipinos especially those who live in coastal areas where fishing is the primary source of livelihood. . . . . read more

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