Climate change is expected to have many impacts on the oceans; one of them is where fish are located in the ocean. Ocean warming is expected to cause fish to shift to different locations that are cooler — generally toward the poles and into deeper waters. But not all fish are moving in the same directions and at the same speeds. This is changing what fish are eating and who are eating them.
Nereus Fellow, Rachel Seary, a PhD Student at the University of Cambridge and the United Nations Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre, has just returned from Cambodia, where she conducted a month long fieldwork period aimed at understanding the links between mangroves and fishing community livelihoods.
Developing countries face decreases in both fisheries and agriculture production under climate change
The authors looked at how food production on land and in the sea will be threatened by climate change and what the future effects on biodiversity, livelihoods and food security will be. They adopted the human development index (HDI) — a global index of life expectancy, education and per capita income. They found that all of the low human development index countries will face declines in both agriculture and fisheries production by 2050.
The rapid development of fisheries in the 1950’s facilitated declines in predator biomass, overexploitation, collapse of fish stocks, and degradation of marine habitats. A new PLOS ONE paper investigates past changes in trophic functioning of marine ecosystems cause by human-induced changes in species assemblages by applying an ecosystem approach to fisheries.
Pacific bluefin tuna are in trouble — they’re at just 2.6% of historic, pre-fishing levels. They have been overfished and this overfishing is still continuing. Due to this dire situation, proper management of the stocks is increasingly important, yet information of the fish’s life history and migration patterns is limited.
Developing nations, which have contributed little to the issue of climate change, are likely to experience reduced livelihood opportunities and emerging dietary nutrient deficiencies as a result of climate change impacts on fisheries.
Due to the expansion of fishing practices, fish catches have become stagnant at best while global fishing efforts continue to grow, ultimately creating major stresses on marine resources. Fisheries impacts on both coastal and deep-sea ecosystems are well understood and documented; however, the biological and ecological impacts of fishing on open-ocean systems are not well studied or documented.
Continuing on the tone set during the first day of the UN Ocean Conference, day two showed the engagement and commitment of many nation states, NGOs, businesses and other stakeholders to achieving SDG 14 ‘Life Below Water’. It featured two important plenary meetings and partnership dialogues addressing targets 14.2 and 14.3: managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems, and minimizing and addressing ocean acidification. During those meetings, the need for enhanced international cooperation to address the common challenges were emphasized; with, for example countries such as the Soloman Islands, Israel, Tuvalu and Estonia expressing commitments to minimize ocean acidification.
The UN Oceans Conference and Sustainable Development Goals: Are partnerships providing the way forward?
The global oceans provide hundreds of millions of people with livelihoods, food and nutritional security, and are crucial for employment, economic development, and export earnings in many countries and coastal communities around the world. The status of these important ecosystems and its fisheries resources are however rapidly declining, following decades of unsustainable exploitation patterns, overcapacity, and unsuccessful governance interventions.