One new study shows where fish populations have been hit hardest by climate change. A second gauges how much future harm could be avoided if the Paris goals are met.
Researchers found some of the greatest declines in fish populations in waters off Western Europe and East Asia. Credit: Northeast Fisheries Science Center/NOAA
Warming ocean waters have already taken a toll on the world's fisheries, and the impact will worsen if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, according to a pair of studies published this week.
In one study, researchers found that the maximum sustainable catch had significantly declined as the oceans warmed over the past century. The other, looking forward, found that limiting further global warming to the Paris climate agreement goal of no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius would help protect millions of tons of future catches, worth billions of dollars.
"We were stunned to find that fisheries around the world have already responded to ocean warming," said Malin Pinsky of Rutgers University, a co-author of the study looking at the climate impact over past decades, in a written statement. "These aren't hypothetical changes sometime in the future."