As the World continues to squabble about who might reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and people in the developed world become increasingly duped into believing media moguls over scientists, yet another assessment of the World in 2050 paints a harsh picture. Researchers from Canada, the UK and the US have published research in Global Change Biology (see here for the full article) that provides estimates of how climate change might have contrasting affects upon different regions of the fisheries of the world.

Whilst those countries largely responsible for initially causing global climate change (e.g. parts of Europe, the US and Australia) may have improved fisheries production in 2050, the tropical regions that contain the majority of the worlds developing nations could have fisheries declines of up to 40%. Nations at the forefront of debate in Europe about the need for climate change adaptation assistance (e.g. Brazil and Indonesia) may suffer huge socio-economic consequences of reduced fisheries production. Such impacts have the potential to particularly hit those vulnerable members of society most dependent upon seafood for daily subsistence protein requirements.

from Chueng et al. 2009 - Change in maximum catch potential (10-year average) from 2005 to 2055 in each 300 _300 cell under climate change scenarios: (a) Special Report on Emission Scenarios A1B and (b) stabilization at 2000 level.

Change in maximum catch potential (10-year average) from 2005 to 2055 in each 300 _300 cell under climate change scenarios: (a) Special Report on Emission Scenarios A1B and (b) stabilization at 2000 level (Chueng et al. 2009)

Whilst these proposed scenarios are only models, and may contain many inaccuracies, they do provide some of the most detailed levels of information available about what the direct consequences of global warming could be to the world’s fisheries. When you consider that factors such as ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution and coastal development are not included within these models, fisheries production in 2050 could be a lot worse with much greater socio-economic consequences.

These findings are of great importance at a time of continued debate about who should take what level of responsibility for emissions reductions and climate adaptation.

 

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