Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New Report Shows Disruptive Impact of Climate Change on Fisheries

A university study published online today in the journal PLOS ONE concludes that climate change will force hundreds of ocean fish and invertebrate species, including Pacific rockfish, to move northward. The Rutgers University led study, funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Pew Charitable Trusts, says these populations, being sensitive to water temperatures, often shift to where that water temperature is right for them.

Their research draws in part on bottom trawl surveys of the Gulf of Alaska, Eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands conducted from 1983 through 2014 by NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center.

Lead author James Morley noted that shifts of a couple of hundred miles in a species’ range can disrupt fisheries. “This study shows that such dislocations will happen all over the continent and on both coasts throughout the 21st century,” he said.

Co-author Malin Pinsky, at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, pointed out that for commercial harvesters, this often means longer trips and higher fuel costs. “Some species along the US and Canadian Pacific coasts will move as much as 900 miles north from their current habitats,” he said.

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