Azara Blog: Fish moving home because of global warming

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Date published: 2005/05/13

The BBC says:

Many fish species in the North Sea are steadily moving northwards to escape warming waters, researchers report.

Commercially important fish such as cod, whiting and anglerfish have shifted significantly north, while some other species moved to colder depths.

Scientists warn in Science magazine that some fish may disappear from the North Sea by 2050.

They say commercial fisheries will have to take account of global warming as well as dwindling fish stocks.

"Some of these species are already depleted and this is yet another challenge that they face," Allison Perry, of the University of East Anglia, told the BBC News website.

Dr Perry and her team have studied data on 36 species of fish going back to the 1970s. Of those species, 21 have moved northwards, some by hundreds of kilometres.

Since the 70s, the average winter temperature at the bottom of the North Sea has risen by around one degree Celsius, and the researchers believe that rise, which they say is attributable to global warming, is forcing populations to shift.
...
The scientists say further research is needed, but as a precaution, greater protection should be put in place for stocks already threatened by over fishing.

"This research adds more weight to what scientists are advising in terms of the need to reduce fishing pressure," Dr Perry said.

Scientists of course are happy to prevent fishing "as a precaution" because it is not their jobs at stake. And you could argue that if a fish species is going to go extinct anyway in a matter of years because of global warming you might as well fish it to death before Mother Nature does so on your behalf. Of course we don't know which species are going to suffer that fate and nobody would believe the models of the scientists enough to go down that route although the very same results are being used to stop fishing.

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