Fish Yields Decline Due to Climate Change

Fish Yields Decline Due to Climate Change

One of the major consequences of climate change is the warming up of our oceans. Scientists have found that this is reducing fish yields by as much as 35%. Looking at the increase in ocean temperatures over the last 80 years, the evidence of a reduction in the population of haddock as well as other fish species in the North Sea is clear.

Sustainable Fishing Impacted

A new study has detailed the reduction of a sustainable catch of 124 fish and shellfish. This is the quantity of fish that can be sustainably obtained without long-term negative implications on the fish population. The researchers have found a reduction of 4.1% as the global average.

The fish industry has to pay attention to these numbers, but sadly, overfishing has also impacted the fish populations. One good example of over-fishing is found in the Sea of Japan, and the result is a reduction in the sustainable catch of as great as 35%.

The complete study is detailed in a March issue of Science. 235 fish and shellfish populations extending across 38 ocean regions were looked at. The study focused on the time period between 1930 and 2010. It is known that ocean surface temperatures have risen by roughly half a degree Celsius over this time period, so the researchers determined to find the impact of this heating up on fish populations and harvests.

The Results

The study shows the impact on fish and shellfish populations. Ocean warming decreased yields of about 8% of populations looked at. On the other hand, 4% of fish and shellfish populations experienced increased yields. This is because some fish populations thrive more in warmer temperature waters. One example of this is the black sea bass found on the northeastern U.S. coast.

Billions of people rely on seafood for protein. The study sheds light on the impact of climate change, and to some extent, the importance of sustainable fishing practices.


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