Saturday, March 02, 2019

Climate Change Is Cutting Into the Global Fish Catch, and It's on Pace to Get Wors

By Phil McKenna
Mar. 1, 2019

Warming ocean waters have already taken a toll on the world's fisheries, and the impact will worsen if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, according to a pair of studies published this week.

In one study, researchers found that the maximum sustainable catch had significantly declined as the oceans warmed over the past century. The other, looking forward, found that limiting further global warming to the Paris climate agreement goal of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would help protect millions of tons of future catches, worth billions of dollars.

"We were stunned to find that fisheries around the world have already responded to ocean warming," said Malin Pinsky of Rutgers University, a co-author of the study looking at the climate impact over past decades, in a written statement. "These aren't hypothetical changes sometime in the future."


Warming waters combined with overfishing have created a "one-two punch" in some regions, Free said. Overfishing reduces reproduction rates in fish populations and can damage their habitat. When the water around them warms, the added strain makes these already weakened populations more susceptible to collapse, according to the study.

"Overfishing makes populations of fish more vulnerable to climate change, and climate change is hindering our abilities to rebuild overfished fish populations," Free said.


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