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Strengthening the Capability of Malaysia’s Small-scale Fishermen to Adapt to Climate Change Impacts

The fisheries industry is one of the more weather-dependent human activities, and climate change, without a doubt, will bring negative impacts to this livelihood. The Department of Fisheries Malaysia (DOF 2017) has 130,645 registered fishermen in Malaysia, which shows the importance of this industry in providing persistent income to this group. In Malaysia, the islander small scale fishermen (ISFM ) group is known for its role in ensuring the continuous supply of protein in the community’s diet. Recent years have been challenging times for the ISFM, however, because of the effects of climate change on fishing. Several climate change-related indications have been recorded in Malaysia such as rising temperature, increasing wind speed, and rising sea level (Shaffril et al. 2017). Being heavily reliant on marine resources, the ISFMs are expected to be severely affected by the effects of climate change. The researchers aim to understand the ISFMs’ adaptation ability via the theory of capacity building. This theory accentuates the need for individuals, groups, organizations, institutions, and societies to strengthen their abilities to perform core functions, solve problems, define and achieve objectives, and understand and deal with their development needs in a broad context and in a sustainable manner. Within the scope of this study, capacity building is about improving ISFMs’ ability to learn and adapt to change. Given threats to the fisheries industry from the impacts of climate change, improving their adaptive capacity for resilient and sustainable socioeconomic conditions should be a priority investment for governments, research, and the fisheries industry.

A set of questionnaires was developed based on the individual adaptive capacity framework on social adaptation to climate change developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN 2010). Based on multi-stage simple random sampling, a total of 500 ISFM (individuals) in four Malaysian islands, namely, Pangkor, Langkawi, Perhentian, and Redang were chosen as respondents. Each island was represented by 125 small-scale fishermen.


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