For the first time scientists have demonstrated the impact of climate change on ocean warming and sea surface temperatures affecting global fisheries stocks. Previous studies were limited to individual fisheries. The changes have been occurring clearly since the 1970s, the scientists say. The implications of this research raises the need for timely changes in fisheries management practices and adaptation plans for communities dependant on fishing, particularly climate vulnerable developing countries in the tropics.
"Given global fisheries contribute hugely to the world's economy and food security, this is a significant finding," said co-author Dr Reg Watson from the University of Tasmania's specialist Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies."We are no longer talking about future hypotheticals - we are talking about impacts on a global scale that we can already demonstrate."
Previous research by Dr Watson published last year demonstrated that marine fishes are now smaller in size. "Last year we showed that one of the consequences of climate change and excessive fishing is that globally marine fishes are smaller," said Dr Watson.
The paper - Signature of ocean warming in global fisheries catch - was published in Nature on 15 May 2013. The study was lead by Assistant Professor William Cheung, University of British Columbia, with collaboration from Professor Daniel Pauly and Dr Reg Watson.
I wrote about a related issue on the Velocity of climate change imperiling ocean diversity, particularly with regard to Australia, in January 2012.