February 18, 2009
A team led by William Cheung of University of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences developed a model that predicts the impact of changes in temperatures and currents on the distribution of more than 1,000 fish species. They found that on average, fish are likely to shift their distribution by more than 40 kilometers (25 miles) per decade. The shift will have a substantial impact on global fisheries, especially in the tropics, which will suffer the largest loss in catch. Some countries — especially at northern latitudes — may see an increase in fish landings. Some fish species may go extinct.
"Our research shows that the impact of climate change on marine biodiversity and fisheries is going to be huge," said Cheung. "We must act now to adapt our fisheries management and conservation policies to minimize harm to marine life and to our society.
"For example, we can use our knowledge to improve the design of marine protected areas which are adaptable to changes in distribution of the species."