Climate changes could affect the distribution of ocean species. A new study from the University of East Anglia, Princeton University and the University of British Columbia predicts that by 2050, large numbers of marine species will migrate from tropical seas toward cooler waters at an average rate of 40 to 45 kilometres per decade.
“Catch will decline in countries along the tropics like Malaysia where the conditions are too hot, and high-latitude countries like Norway will win,” said Daniel Pauly, director of the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.
Climate-driven environmental changes could drastically affect the distribution of more than 1,000 species of commercial fish and shellfish around the world, scientists say. They predict that within 41 years, the global distribution of marine species will shift 60 percent as more fish move toward cooler waters near the Earth’s poles.
“Even if we completely stop fishing, we will still see a big difference in 10 years, the goal posts are changing, so we need to re-think and re-tool the way we look at fishery management said Emily Pidgeon, senior technical adviser with the Regional Marine Strategies Department at Conservation International.
The migration of certain fish species out of their natural habitats could cause food shortages for millions of people, especially in countries near the equator, who depend on local seafood as a staple of their diet.