Nav: Home

Climate change has fish moving faster than regulations can keep up

June 14, 2018

The world's system for allocating fish stocks is being outpaced by the movement of fish species in response to climate change, according to a study undertaken by an international team of marine ecologists, fisheries and social scientists, and lawyers.

"Fish fleeing warming waters will cross national boundaries and add new 'shareholders' to existing fisheries," said senior author William Cheung, associate professor in UBC's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and director of science for the Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program, which helped fund the research. "Without a pre-agreed mechanism to accommodate these unexpected fish shareholders, we could witness more international disputes over the allocation of fisheries resources."

The study analyzed 892 fish stocks from around the world using models, developed by Cheung and his team at UBC, that show climate change is driving marine species toward the poles. They found that 70 or more countries will see new fish stocks in their waters by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trajectory.

"Marine fishes do not have passports and are not aware of political boundaries; they will follow their future optimal habitat," said co-author Gabriel Reygondeau, postdoctoral fellow at UBC. "Unfortunately, the potential change of distribution of highly-valuable species between two neighbouring countries will represent a challenge for fisheries management that will require new treaties to deal with transboundary fish stocks."

The study cited a dispute between Canada and the United States in the 1980s and 1990s after warming regional temperatures caused Pacific salmon to change their migration patterns. U.S. fisheries intercepted Canadian-bound salmon and Canadian fisheries retaliated by targeting salmon migrating to spawn in the U.S. After six years of disagreement, a new joint management agreement was implemented.

"Most people may not understand that the right to harvest particular species of fish is decided by national and regional fisheries management organizations," said Malin Pinsky, an assistant professor of ecology, evolution and natural resources at Rutgers' School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and lead author of the study. "Those organizations have made the rules based on the notion that particular fish species live in particular waters and don't move much but now we know they are moving because climate change is warming ocean temperatures."

The study also cited international fisheries disputes including the "mackerel war" between Iceland and the European Union in 2007.

The study suggests that governments should implement solutions to avoid conflicts such as allowing the trade of fishing permits or quotas across international boundaries.

"Examples of such flexible arrangements already exist, such as the agreement for U.S.-Canada Pacific salmon and Norway-Russia Atlantic herring," Cheung said. "Fisheries management organizations can draw from these experiences to proactively make existing international fisheries arrangements adaptable to changing stock distributions."

The researchers say the alternative to such negotiations is grim, including overfishing that reduces food supply, profit, and employment, as well as fractured international relations.
-end-
The findings were published today in the journal Science. The international team included researchers from UBC, Rutgers University, Utrecht University, Cardiff University, Stockholm University, and James Cook University.

About the Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program

The Nereus Program, a collaboration between the Nippon Foundation and the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia, has engaged in innovative, interdisciplinary ocean research since its inception in 2011. The program is currently a global partnership of 17 leading marine science institutes with the aim of undertaking research that advances our comprehensive understandings of the global ocean systems across the natural and social sciences, from oceanography and marine ecology to fisheries economics and impacts on coastal communities. Visit nereusprogram.org for more information.

University of British Columbia

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know®
by Joseph Romm (Author)

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change (The Politically Incorrect Guides)
by Marc Morano (Author)

A Global Warming Primer: Answering Your Questions About The Science, The Consequences, and The Solutions
by Jeffrey Bennett (Author)

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
by Elizabeth Kolbert (Author)

Climate Change: The Facts
by J.Abbot (Author), J.S. Armstrong (Author), A.Bolt (Author), R.Carter (Author), R.Darwall (Author), J.Delingpole (Author), C.Essex (Author), S.Franks (Author), K.Green (Author), D.Laframboise (Author), N.Lawson (Author), B.Lewin (Author), R.Lindzen (Author), J.Marohasy (Author), R.McKitrick (Author), P.Michaels (Author), A.Moran (Author), J.Nova (Author), G.Paltridge (Author), I.Plimer (Author), W.Soon (Author), M.Steyn (Author), A.Watts (Author), Alan Moran (Editor)

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate
by Naomi Klein (Author)

Climate Change: The Facts 2017
by Jennifer Marohasy (Editor)

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
by Paul Hawken (Editor), Tom Steyer (Editor)

Dire Predictions, 2nd Edition: Understanding Climate Change
by Michael E. Mann (Author), Lee R. Kump (Author)

The Thinking Person's Guide to Climate Change
by Robert Henson (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Right To Speak
Should all speech, even the most offensive, be allowed on college campuses? And is hearing from those we deeply disagree with ... worth it? This hour, TED speakers explore the debate over free speech. Guests include recent college graduate Zachary Wood, political scientist Jeffrey Howard, novelist Elif Shafak, and journalist and author James Kirchick.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#486 Volcanoes
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...