7 Dec 2018 - Fishers find typical seasons for the spawning of fish have changed and the islands are seeing coral bleaching and the disappearance of some native fish and shellfish delicacies.
"Fishing and planting are our communities’ livelihoods. In this, weather is everything. If the weather takes a turn for the worse while I am at sea, it can be a safety issue. If I am unable to catch enough fish to feed my family and provide for my community, then how can we survive? With the remoteness of our island, we must be resilient. We must adapt for our existence, and if technology is the pathway then let’s learn how to use it." - Poroa Arokapiki, Secretary - Mangaia Fishing Association
For centuries, Cook Islands communities have used traditional knowledge and skills, passed down through generations, to read their environment and provide food for their families. Nature has provided.
But farmers, fishers, and practitioners of traditional livelihoods have witnessed changes over the past decades. Typical seasons for the spawning of fish have shifted. Rainfall, wave, and wind patterns have become less predictable. The islands are seeing coral bleaching and the disappearance of some native fish and shellfish delicacies. Storm surges and sea-water intrusion are increasingly impacting crops.
While these trends are being observed first-hand by communities, scientific data is key to fully understanding the changes.
The Government of the Cook Islands is focused on filling the gaps and now, with the installation of automatic weather stations and a new online app, the Cook Islands Meteorological Service (Met Service) is modernising the capture, analysis, and distribution of climate information – a key piece of the puzzle in building a more climate-smart future.
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