It’s easy to forget that global warming doesn’t just refer to the rising temperature of the air. Climate change is having an enormous, if less understood, impact on the oceans, which already absorb far more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. Like so much of what goes on in the vast depths that cover more than two-thirds of our planet’s surface, the effect of climate change on the oceans remains a black box, albeit one that scientists are working to illuminate.
Here’s one way: fisheries. Wild fish remain a major source of protein for humanity — as well as a major source of reality-TV shows — and for some coastal communities, fish mean even more. Scientists aren’t clear about what effect climate change, including the warming of the oceans, will have on wild fisheries. As Mark Payne of the National Institute of Aquatic Resources writes in a new piece in Nature, ocean researchers “tend to view climate change as a dark cloud on the horizon: potentially problematic in the future, but not of immediate concern” — especially compared with the much more pressing threat of simple overfishing.
But now a new study in Nature makes the case that climate change — including the warming of the oceans — is already having a direct impact on global fisheries. Researchers led by William Cheung at the University of British Columbia’s Fisheries Centre created a new model that took the known temperature preferences of different species of commercial fish and compared those figures with catch numbers from around the world. They found that species comfortable in warmer waters have been replacing fish that are more accustomed to cool temperatures. That means climate change is altering the makeup of fisheries around the world — and that could be particularly bad for the tropics, which may eventually become too hot for even for fish that tend to prefer it on the warmer side.
Yeah a buddy posted this article the other day. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/05/15/183968378/go-fish-somew...
Thanks for the article link James.
Oh dear, we can teach but cannot force learning. Just as the small child warned to say away from a hot oven often has to touch it to make sure it is hot. We observe, pay attention to, document changes and until a person's livelihood, or comfort zone is intruded upon, he or she ignores warnings. Is that human nature or human hubris?
Thank you so much Joan. Appreciate you very much.
Another reason fish catches are declining is that we've been removing far more than we admit.
Large fish traps in the Persian Gulf could be catching up to six times more fish than what's being officially reported, according to the first investigation of fish catches from space ...