Saturday, 24 December 2016

Meeting global climate target to net millions more fish

If countries abide by the Paris Agreement's global warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius, potential fish catches could increase by six million metric tonnes per year, estimates a new study.

The researchers also found that some oceans are more sensitive to changes in temperature and will have substantially larger gains from achieving the Paris Agreement.

"The benefits for vulnerable tropical areas is a strong reason why 1.5 Celsius is an important target to meet," said lead author William Cheung, Associate Professor at University of British Columbia in Canada.

"Countries in these sensitive regions are highly dependent on fisheries for food and livelihood, but all countries will be impacted as the seafood supply chain is now highly globalised. Everyone would benefit from meeting the Paris Agreement," Cheung said.

The authors compared the Paris Agreement 1.5 Celsius warming scenario to the currently pledged 3.5 Celsius by using computer models to simulate changes in global fisheries and quantify losses or gains.

The findings -- published in the journal Science - showed that for every degree Celsius decrease in global warming, potential fish catches could increase by more than three metric million tonnes per year.

Previous UBC research shows that today's global fish catch is roughly 109 million metric tonnes.

"Changes in ocean conditions that affect fish stocks, such as temperature and oxygen concentration, are strongly related to atmospheric warming and carbon emissions," Thomas Frolicher from ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) in Switzerland, explained.

"For every metric tonne of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere, the maximum catch potential decreases by a significant amount," Frolicher said.

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