Report warns of global food insecurity
as climate change destroys fisheries

According to this Guardian article, ocean acidification and climate change are destroying fisheries, hitting the Persian Gulf, Libya, and Pakistan particularly hard.

Low-income countries ... were viewed as high risk. So were small island states that depend heavily on coral reef fisheries and on conches, oysters, clams and other shellfish.

About 1 billion people depend on seafood as their main source of protein. But some of those countries most dependent on fishing are expected to lose up to 40% of their fish catch by the middle of the century.

For those of us in the States, this isn't just Somebody Else's Problem: "America is expected to lose about 12% of its catch potential by mid-century, the report said."

... the first effects of climate change and the changing ocean chemistry are already evident, however, in Kenya ... and on the US Pacific coast which has seen a die-off of oyster beds in Oregon.

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Thinking that the US will ONLY lose 12% of its catch potential is unduly optimistic, in my view. With other countries literally starving there will be a desperate scramble to deplete all fish no matter where they're found.

The US King Salmon catch has already collapsed.

Royal Pain: Alaska Missing Its King Salmon

The fisheries have already been destroyed, since the 1980s on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, since the Middle Ages in the "banks" off Europe, and in the Med since the 90s.

Global change is simply an additional drop in the bucket... but that's just a drop, while the "bucket" is human population. What has really killed the oceans is human consumption... which is directly related to human numbers.

Climate change is but a distraction in the true requirements to recreate a sustainable planet. Once in political hands, the climate change debate becomes an economical debate. It will do nothing to change the situation. The Homo sapiens on todays' planet will never achieve reduced energy consumption. We need to reduce humans and reduce our technological output.

TNT666, in regards to

Climate change is but a distraction in the true requirements to recreate a sustainable planet. Once in political hands, the climate change debate becomes an economical debate.

I wouldn't say "but a distraction" as if it's trivial and easily dismissed. While Climate Change is a symptom of our shortfall from "the true requirements to recreate a sustainable planet", it's most urgent.

Your point that it's easily converted into an economic debate in the political arena is well taken. I think our ultimate answer will include rethinking economics to include a second competing "currency", rights to bear children. Only when population size is translated in terms of an economic coin, a second value to balance against "filthy lucre" will global economic systems be ready to integrate it. Once we have lotteries, futures, and trading in birth rights, that elephant in the room won't seem so scary.

Fishermen are beginning to worry about ocean acidification.

In the past five years, the fact that human-generated carbon emissions are making the ocean more acidic has become an urgent cause of concern to the fishing industry and scientists.

... last year, a team of researchers led by Oregon State University professor George Waldbusser found that the pH in the lower part of the Chesapeake Bay is declining at a rate that’s three times faster than the open Pacific Ocean, partly because of increased nutrient runoff from farming and other activities.

Oyster farmers off the coasts of Washington and Oregon were the first to see how ocean acidification threatened their business.

Ocean acidification emerges as new climate threat

A new study predicts the loss of coral reefs, essential to many fish.

Limiting climate change to two degrees C won’t save most coral reefs, according to new, state-of-the-art research.

About 70 percent of corals are projected to suffer from long-term degradation by 2030 with two degrees C of warming, the first comprehensive global survey reported Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The planet will get far hotter than two degrees C based on current commitments by countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, mainly from burning oil, gas and coal. Humanity is on course to heat up the atmosphere an average of three and even four degrees C, according to the Climate Action Tracker, an international scientific monitor. Those temperature levels are what most scientists consider “catastrophic”.

Coral reefs are considered by many to be one of the life-support systems essential for human survival. For more than 2.6 billion people, seafood is the main source of protein. Corals act as the nurseries and habitat for many fish species, and are vital for up to 33 percent of all ocean species, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN). [emphasis mine]

Deeper CO2 Cuts Needed to Save Corals

image from Result of coral reef deaths: loss in billions of dollars

A "new" study?????? ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The oceans are practically dead! relative to what they were just a couple of centuries ago.

It's not only fish supplies which are disappearing.

UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013

• Global grain reserves hit critically low levels
• Extreme weather means climate 'is no longer reliable'
• Rising food prices threaten disaster and unrest

A Zimbabwean peasant farmer in a crop of maize destroyed by drought. One expert warns: 'The geopolitics of food is fast overshadowing the geopolitics of oil.' Photograph: Howard Burditt/Reuters

World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.

The figures come as one of the world's leading environmentalists issued a warning that the global food supply system could collapse at any point, leaving hundreds of millions more people hungry, sparking widespread riots and bringing down governments. In a shocking new assessment of the prospects of meeting food needs, Lester Brown, president of the Earth policy research centre in Washington, says that the climate is no longer reliable and the demands for food are growing so fast that a breakdown is inevitable, unless urgent action is taken.

"Food shortages undermined earlier civilisations. We are on the same path. Each country is now fending for itself. The world is living one year to the next," he writes in a new book.

According to Brown, we are seeing the start of a food supply breakdown with a dash by speculators to "grab" millions of square miles of cheap farmland, the doubling of international food prices in a decade, and the dramatic rundown of countries' food reserves.

Here's a nice summary of what's destroying fisheries in chart form.

Collapsing Seas

Ocean animals shrink ten times faster as temperature rises than land animals.

Warming Temperatures Cause Aquatic Animals to Shrink the Most

Warmer temperatures cause greater reduction in the adult sizes of aquatic animals than in land-dwellers in a new study by scientists from Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Liverpool.

... the body size of marine and freshwater species are affected disproportionately by warmer temperatures. This could have implications for aquatic food webs and the production of food by aquaculture.

"Aquatic animals shrink 10 times more than land-dwellers in species the size of large insects or small fish. While animals in water decrease in size by 5 percent for every degree Celsius of warming, similarly sized species on land shrink, on average, by just half a percent."

The research also demonstrates that the most likely cause of this difference in size is due to the much lower availability of oxygen in water than in air.

"Given that fish and other aquatic organisms provide 3 billion people with at least 15 percent of their animal protein intake, our work highlights the importance of understanding how warming in the future will affect ocean, lake and river dwelling species."

Caribbean sardine collapse linked to climate change

The collapse of sardine fisheries in the southern Caribbean during the past decade may have been driven by global climate change, according to a study.

The sardine, Sardinella aurita, feeds on plankton but since 2005 plankton levels in the Caribbean have reduced significantly, which, coupled with overfishing, may have contributed to the collapse of these fisheries. They have plummeted by as much as 87%, the study says.

The research team said the decreasing levels of plankton production are the result of a reduction in ocean upwelling, whereby nutrients crucial for plankton production are brought from the sea's floor to the surface. The drop in upwelling has, in turn, been driven by changes in wind patterns and wind strength, themselves driven by global climate change.

... water temperature has increased by 1.1C [since 1996] – a very slight increase, slow but steady." The temperature increase contributes to the stratification of the sea, further limiting the upwelling and thus reducing plankton production.

The Venezuelan sardine catch has dropped from about 200,000 tonnes in 2004 to less than 40,000 tonnes today, Lodeiros said, adding: "The same goes for other areas ...

New data on past and future changes to fish catches from climate change.

'Fish Thermometer' Reveal Impact of Climate Change

... scientists at the University of British Columbia say warmer global temperatures have been affecting the world's ocea... for some 40 years.

They used known temperature preferences of fish and other marine species as a sort of "thermometer" to gauge the extent of the change, and they saw a gradual migration of fish species away from the equator into cooler, deeper waters.

The researchers analyzed data from global fisheries from 1970 to 2006 and found the catch was increasingly dominated by warm-water species.

... while boats off the northeastern coast of the U.S. were catching new species typically found closer to the tropics, "in the tropics, climate change meant fewer marine species and reduced catches, with serious implications for food security." [emphasis mine]


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