3265 Climate Change and the Ecology of Fish and Fisheries

Friday, February 18, 2011: 9:30 AM
207B (Washington Convention Center )
William W.L Cheung , University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
Human impacts have substantially altered marine ecosystems, resulting in huge losses of potential benefits from the ocean through fisheries and other services. How climate change contributes to these impacts and affects marine organisms and fisheries are important questions for management and restoration of marine ecosystems. Analyzing all major marine fish stocks in the world, we show that climate change will lead to substantial movement of fish stocks towards the poles and into deeper water. Also, globally, there will be large-scale redistribution of potential fisheries catch, with many tropical countries losing substantially from their potential fisheries benefits. Marine ecosystems and fisheries will be further impacted through climate-induced changes in the life history of fishes and shellfishes. Specifically, mean body weight of fish stocks are predicted to be reduced by 2050 relative to now, and the level of such impacts will vary in different regions of the world's oceans. Ocean acidification and reduced oxygen levels in the ocean may substantially increase the rate of distributional shifts and reduce the potential fisheries yield. This will have profound implications for the dynamics of fish populations and the goods and services that humans enjoy through fisheries. These findings form the basis for the determination of the impact of climate change on fisheries and human welfare, and for developing ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change in fisheries.