Tag: fisheries

Ocean acidification seen as huge threat to Atlantic cod

Climate change to put a big hit on cod stocks.

Fish larvae seen as highly sensitive to CO2

Staff Report

New lab experiments suggest that increasing ocean acidification could take a big bite out of the economically important cod fishery in the North Atlantic. The research suggests that the buildup of CO2 in the ocean could double the mortality of newly-hatched cod larvae.

Members of the German research network BIOACID quantified the impacts, showing that recruitment could decrease to levels of one quarter to one twelfth of the recruitment of the last decades. Cod have already been under intense fishing pressure for decades, and the new study, published in the online journal PLOS ONE, identifies climate change as an emerging new threat. Continue reading “Ocean acidification seen as huge threat to Atlantic cod”

Global warming: Goodbye to sea scallops?

A northward shift of the Gulf Stream could warm waters off the New England coast significantly, according to a new NOAA study. Graphic courtesy NASA.
Rapidly warming ocean temperatures off the New England coast are affecting many marine species. Graphic courtesy NASA.

New vulnerability assessment to help guide fisheries management

Staff Report

Rapidly warming ocean temperatures off the coast of the Northeastern U.S. are likely to have a big impact on nearly all fish and other marine life in the region. Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration carefully surveyed 82 species in a recent study, trying to identify which are the most vulnerable to global warming.

“Our method identifies specific attributes that influence marine fish and invertebrate resilience to the effects of a warming ocean and characterizes risks posed to individual species,” said Jon Hare, a fisheries oceanographer at NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and lead author of the study. “This work will help us better account for the effects of warming waters on our fishery species in stock assessments and when developing fishery management measures.” Continue reading “Global warming: Goodbye to sea scallops?”

Canada’s coastal First Nations fisheries could take hit from global warming

Not smiling …

Modeling projects huge economic losses in fisheries

Staff Report

A fine-grained look at climate change impacts in Canada suggests that coastal First Nations people might be hit especially hard, with fisheries catch potentially declining by 50 percent in the next few decades. That represents losses between $6.7 and $12 million annually by 2050.

According to the study conducted by former University of British Columbia grad student Lauren Weatherdon, the projected changes threaten the food and economic security of indigenous communities along coastal British Columbia, Canada. Continue reading “Canada’s coastal First Nations fisheries could take hit from global warming”

New England cod decline linked with warming ocean

Can cod survive in the Gulf of Maine?

Management not keeping up with changing conditions

Staff Report

The Gulf of Maine is simply getting too warm for cod, fisheries experts said in a new study released this week that links the warming to changes in the position of the Gulf Stream and to climate oscillations in the Atlantic and the Pacific. These factors add to the steady pace of warming caused by global climate change.

Cod stocks, once the mainstay of New England’s fisheries, are on the brink of collapse, hovering at 3 to 4 percent of sustainable levels. Even strict quota limits on fishermen failed to help cod rebound, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon, the researchers reported in the journal Science. Continue reading “New England cod decline linked with warming ocean”

Study shows farm, urban runoff affect fish abundance

Dune-protected wetlands on Texel.
Estuaries are important nurseries for marine species, and they are also susceptible to pollution from land-based sources.

‘We are finding hypoxic areas wherever we look’

Staff Report

FRISCO — Nutrient pollution from farming has seeped into nearly every corner of a California estuary, affecting the abundance of fish in the important marine nursery, according to new research by scientists with the University of California at Santa Cruz and The Nature Conservancy.

Lead author Brent Hughes began studying water quality in Elkhorn Slough as a UCSC graduate student. His earlier research showed that virtually every portion of the estuary is adversely affected by high nutrient levels. The pollution stimulates the growth of algae, leading to low oxygen levels when the algae die and decompose.

The new study, based on data collected over the past 40 years, shows how low levels of dissolved oxygen (a condition known as “hypoxia”) affects fish populations in the estuary and beyond. Continue reading “Study shows farm, urban runoff affect fish abundance”

Climate: Arctic meltdown to shake up fish diversity

Arctic sea ice receded to the second-lowest extent on record this year. MAP COURTESY NATIONAL SNOW AND ICE DATA CENTER.
Open water in the Arctic will shake up the species mix in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Changes ahead, outcome uncertain

Staff Report

FRISCO — Melting Arctic sea ice is breaking down the natural barrier between Pacific and Atlantic fish species, with as-yet unknown consequences for ocean ecosystems, scientists said this week in a new study published in Nature Climate Change.

The last time the environmental conditions allowed such large-scale transfer to occur was nearly three million years ago during the opening of the Bering Strait, which facilitated the spread of mostly Pacific marine species toward the Atlantic. Continue reading “Climate: Arctic meltdown to shake up fish diversity”

Oceans: Pacific bluefin tuna on the brink as feds seek input on new fishing regulations

Even the imminent decimation of tuna populations hasn’t stopped sport fishermen from harvesting the desirable fish in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. bberwyn photo.

Not enough adults left to replenish populations

Staff Report

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FRISCO — Pacific bluefin tuna won’t last long at any sustainable level without immediate and drastic intervention by fisheries managers, according to ocean advocates who are urging the federal government to adopt strict limits on bluefin tuna catch.

Overall, many tuna populations are on the brink of collapse. Five of eight tuna species have been assigned threatened or near-threatened status on the international Red List maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

In the Gulf of Mexico, for example, the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster spewed millions of gallons of oil into the species’ prime breeding grounds, and a 2010 report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists showed how illegal fishing and inadequate enforcement are decimating tuna stocks all over the world. Continue reading “Oceans: Pacific bluefin tuna on the brink as feds seek input on new fishing regulations”