Effects of climate change to further degrade fisheries resources: study

November 20, 2011, University of British Columbia

A new study led by University of British Columbia researchers reveals how the effect of climate change can further impact the economic viability of current fisheries practices.

" are already providing fewer fish and making less money than they could if we curbed overfishing," says Rashid Sumaila, principal investigator of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC and lead author of the study. "We could be earning interest, but instead we're fishing away the capital. Climate change is likely to cause more losses unless we choose to act."

Partly supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, National Geographic, the World Bank and U.S. , the study is a broad view of the impact of climate change on fisheries and their profitability. It is published online today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Over the last century the ocean has become warmer and more acidic. Other human-led factors, such as pollution and overfishing, have also been hard on . With ocean warming, many species will move further towards the poles and into deeper water.

While fisheries in a few regions, such as the far north, may benefit from climate change, many other regions, particularly those in the tropics, can expect losses in revenues. Regional examples can help inform what could happen globally. For example, the reduction in landings of pelagic fisheries in Peru as a result of changes in during the 1997-1998 El Niño event caused more than US$26 million of revenue loss.

"Changes in temperature and ocean chemistry directly affect the physiology, growth, reproduction and distribution of these organisms," says William Cheung, a biologist at the UBC Fisheries Centre. "Fish in warmer waters will probably have a smaller body size, be smaller at first maturity, with higher mortality rates and be caught in different areas. These are important factors when we think of how climate change will impact fisheries."

"This study provides an early glimpse of how climate change might impact the economics of fishing," says Sam Herrick, a NOAA scientist and co-author. "We must continue to study how climate change, combined with other factors, will affect marine ecosystems and the productivity of fishery resources."

Biologically, maintaining more abundant populations can help increase fish's capacity to adapt to environmental change. Curbing overfishing is crucial to making marine systems more robust and ready for changes that are already underway.

"This study highlights the potential negative impacts of climate change on the profitability of fisheries," said Vicky Lam, UBC graduate student and co-author. "The next generation of scientists must put more effort on exploring ways to minimize the impacts of climate change."

Fish stocks will also be more robust to climate change if the combined stresses from overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution runoff, land-use transformation, competing aquatic resource uses and other anthropogenic factors are minimized

"We have to remember that the effect of on the marine environment will occur alongside the impacts on land," says Daniel Pauly, a UBC fisheries biologist and co-author. "It will not be easy to divert resources from one sector to help another sector. This is why a strong governance system is needed – to temper the losses on the sectors that are worst hit."

"Governments must be anticipatory, rather than reactive," says Sumaila. "We all need to think more of the future while we act now."

Explore further: US Atlantic cod population to drop by half by 2050

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2 / 5 (12) Nov 20, 2011
Maybe change the name of this website to "climatechange.org".So sick of being beat over the head with "climate change".
1.8 / 5 (11) Nov 20, 2011
So sick of being beat over the head with "climate change".

World leaders are preparing for another gathering of dignitaries to promote the illusion they control Earth's climate.

World leaders do not understand and cannot control the energy source that powers the Sun [1,2].

The Sun exerts primary control over Earth's climate [3,4].

1. "Neutron Repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011)

2. "Climate Change and National Security"

3. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate", J Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002

4. "Earth's Heat Source - The Sun", Energy & Environment 20, 131-144 (2009)

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
2.1 / 5 (11) Nov 20, 2011
I completely agree with the post by OmegaMolecule.
3.9 / 5 (8) Nov 20, 2011
"I completely agree with the post by OmegaMolecule." How about this - any time you guys see an article talking about climate science (or any other subject you are not interested in) - don't read it. That way - you don't have bad feelings because someone is 'beating you over the head' - and we don't have to read one more - totally non constructive comment from the anti science peanut gallery - we can enjoy constructive comments that contribute to the discussion at hand. Just a thought!!!
2 / 5 (12) Nov 20, 2011
Such a transparent PR effort, does anyone even read this rubbish anymore? Shades of doomsdays past.
1.4 / 5 (11) Nov 21, 2011
Such a transparent PR effort, does anyone even read this rubbish anymore?

A return to reality is suggested in the last slide in a recent talk by solar physicist, Dr. Pal Brekke, the author of a new book - "Our Explosive Sun."


The word explosive describes the object that produced our elements, gave birth to the Solar System five billion years (5 Gyr) ago), sustains life, and exerts primary control over Earth's climate.

Reluctance to admit the Sun's explosive nature and repulsive forces between neutrons in the solar core have compromised astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear, particle, solar and space sciences for the past four decades.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
3.6 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2011
I`m sick of being beat over the head by science. Especially science that disagrees with my worldview. Moreover, science that highlights potential problems that directly impact economics and the way of life of millions of people. Stupid scientists.
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 21, 2011
"Maybe change the name of this website to "climatechange.org"." - OmegaTard

Climate change will continue to be one of the defining features of your life, since you are part of and reliant upon a biosphere that is dying in part as a result of it.

If you can't handle the truth then please put a bullet in your own brain as you will have admitted that you are less than useless.

Do it now. Make the world a better place.

3.4 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2011
"Such a transparent PR effor" - StarGazer

Poor StarGazer. He can't even manage to figure out why Real ground based Star Gazers can't gaze at stars in the CO2 absorbing region of the IR spectra.


1.4 / 5 (9) Nov 21, 2011
Global warming has been small and definitely beneficial for nature and mankind, with a large increase in plant life. "Warmer and more acidic" - a small amount of warming, which has ceased rising recently. The oceans are base, with a pH between 7.5-8.4. They are full of calcium carbonate (coral and seashells), which is an anti-acid. Besides, ocean life evolved with a great tolerance for changing pH. If CO2 comes out of the oceans if/when they warm, that reduces acidity. It is literally impossible for the oceans to become actually acidic.
5 / 5 (8) Nov 21, 2011
It is also literally impossible for your ignorance to be even greater than it is.

Go away, study, and come back when you're actually educated on the subject matters.
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 22, 2011
"Global warming has been small and definitely beneficial for nature and mankind." - 3432xxx

10'C = Near extinction for all higher order organisms.
1'C = Desertification of the U.S. grain belt.

Don't expect to grow grain in the north. Glaciers have transported the soil from the bare rock of the Canadian Shield to - shock and awe - the U.S. grain belt.

Have you been an idiot all of your life?

5 / 5 (1) Nov 24, 2011
Perhaps the urgency leading to the insistence on reporting about climate change is that it is the number threat to humans, excepting nuclear stupidity, period. Refusing to accept reality is a problem some of you should get treatment for.

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