Dwindling Fish Catch Could Leave a Billion Hungry

red snapper -- reef fish w teethBy Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Oct 9 (IPS)

Without action on climate change “The collapse of fisheries in much of the world would be a sideshow,” Daniel Pauly.

Fish catches are expected to decline dramatically in the world’s tropical regions because of climate change, but may increase in the north, said a new study published Thursday.

This mega-shift in ocean productivity from south to north over the next three to four decades will leave those most reliant on fish for both food and income high and dry.

“The shift is already happening, we’ve been measuring it for the last 20 years,” said Daniel Pauly, a renowned fisheries expert at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“Major shifts in fish populations will create a host of changes in ocean ecosystems likely resulting in species loss and problems for the people who now catch them,” Pauly told IPS.

In the first major study to examine the effects of climate change on ocean fisheries, a team of researchers from UBC and Princeton University discovered that catch potential will fall 40 percent in the tropics and may increase 30 to 70 percent in high latitude regions, affecting ocean food supply throughout the world by 2055.

The study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, examined the impacts of rising ocean temperatures, changes in salinity and currents resulting from a warming climate. Continue reading