ocean warming

Fish Heading for cooler waters - Climate Change Impact of warming oceans on global fish stocks

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.

Oceans at high risk of unprecedented Marine extinction scientists warn

A report issued last week from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) has strongly warned of the damage to the health of the world's oceans and marine life from several factors including the impacts of climate change. The report warned that if the current business as usual trajectory of damage continues "that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history."

Related: International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) | The Ocean in a high CO2 world | Frontline - World's oceans in crisis: What can be done? | Takver: articles on climate change and oceans | NOAA: Major flooding on the Mississippi river predicted to cause largest Gulf of Mexico dead zone ever recorded

On the brink: Penguins face an uncertain climate future

Early this year the African Penguin was redlisted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as in danger of extinction. In response to a 2006 petition by the Centre for Biological Diversity the US Interior Department has listed the African penguin, the only species of penguin breeding on the African continent, for protection under the US Endangered Species Act.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded the status of the Afican Penguin in 2010 to endangered citing "recent data has revealed that it is undergoing a very rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries and shifts in prey populations. This trend currently shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines."

Marine Scientists call for climate action over Ocean Warming and Acidification

A Marine Climate Change report card released by Australian Scientists has warned that: ocean temperatures have warmed; the flow of the East Australian Current has strengthened, and will likely increase a further 20% by 2100; Marine biodiversity is changing in south-east Australia in response; and declines of over 10% in growth rates of massive corals on the Great Barrier Reef are likely due to ocean acidification and thermal stress.

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