climate and fisheries news
How will it change?
NOAA Fisheries conducts and supports a variety of efforts to provide early warnings of changes in marine ecosystems. This includes monitoring and tracking physical, chemical, biological, and socio-economic conditions related to oceans, fisheries, and protected marine life.
Scientific research shows that climate change impacts on the ocean have already affected fisheries. While abundance of several cold water species is reducing, some tropical species are appearing on our coasts. In future decades ocean warming and acidification can affect growth and reproduction processes of many marine organisms, which may reduce stocks available for many significant commercial species. For instance, shellfish (oysters, mussels…) are especially sensitive to acidification. Also, while they are crucial for the economy of small islands and human nutrition, almost all coral ecosystems in tropical areas are expected to disappear by 2050. Climate change is also going to impact bacterial and phytoplankton communities, which are key to the marine food web. Consequently, if we keep on producing greenhouse gases at the current pace, changes expected before the end of the century in terms of biodiversity could be similar to those that occurred during the prior 20 or 30 million years.
Fishers will have to adapt to climate change impacts on fish stocks and their geographical distribution, by changing their modes of exploitation, sometimes ships, calendars and fishing areas. Public policies in management, control and governance will also need some redesigning to avoid reconsidering all efforts undertaken to resupply fish stocks for over several decades. For example, the cod stock in the Gulf of Maine has recently dropped because fish quotas had been determined without taking global warming into consideration. Consequently, it is important to learn how to constantly evolve, and this adaptation has a cost and will not happen without difficulty.
The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy is a unique grouping of serving world leaders with the authority needed to trigger, amplify and accelerate action for ocean protection and production in policy, governance and finance. Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palau and Portugal are all represented on the Panel. Learn more at oceanpanel.org. World Resources Institute (WRI) serves as the Secretariat for the High Level Panel. Learn more at www.wri.org/our-work/topics/ocean. ↩︎
Under the least severe emissions scenario, eight countries, seven of which are in West Africa, are projected to experience reductions in Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of 5-10%. Under the most severe scenario, 117 countries are projected to experience reductions in MSY of 5-100%. All 18 West African countries south of Senegal and north of Angola are forecast to experience reductions in MSY greater than 85%. The Pacific Island States will also suffer greatly with this predicament as MSY is expected to decrease, under all emissions scenarios, in all of them except Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. ↩︎
Fisheries are often overlooked when researchers and policymakers focus on land-based agriculture as the primary food source for a growing global population, yet fish are an essential protein source for 3.2 billion people and provide 17 percent of the world’s animal protein. They’re especially important in some developing tropical countries that rely on fish for 70 percent of their nutrition.
“Shifting the abundance and distribution of these resources may have direct impacts for food, culture and livelihoods,” he said. “In Arctic regions, many communities are dependent on sea ice. With high emissions scenarios, we are seeing the continuous loss of sea ice and higher frequencies of no sea ice in the summer.”
Can global warming leave us without fish, and fishermen without an income? Or does the new climate come with new opportunities? Here, in Italy, and across Europe, scientists and fishermen are looking for answers.
The local fishermen cooperative, which has 12 fishing boats, is providing some data and samples to the researchers.