Global fisheries are expected to lose $10 billion by 2050 if climate change continues unchecked.
Climate change impacts such as rising temperatures, changes in ocean salinity, acidity and oxygen levels are expected to result in decreased catches, according to research from the University of British Colombia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.
“Developing countries most dependent on fisheries for food and revenue will be hardest hit,” said postdoctoral fellow at the UBS Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and Lead Author, Vicky Lam. “It is necessary to implement better marine resource management plans to increase stock resilience to climate change.”
While many communities are considering fish farming as a solution to ease the financial burden of fishing losses and improve food security under climate change, when the researchers examined the growing industry, they found it could exacerbate the negative impact on revenues by driving down the price of seafood.
“Global fisheries revenues amount to about $100 billion every year,” said co-author, Professor Rashid Sumaila. “Our modeling shows that a high emissions scenario could reduce global fishing revenue by an average of 10 per cent, while a low emissions scenario could reduce revenues by 7 per cent.”
The researchers found the countries that rely highly on fish are the most vulnerable, including island countries like Tokelau, Cayman Islands and Tuvalu. Meanwhile, many developed countries, such as Greenland and Iceland, could see revenue increases as fish move into cooler waters.