Large‐Scale Redistribution of Maximum Fisheries Catch Potential in the Global Ocean under Climate Change

W. W. L. Cheung, V. W. Y. Lam, J. L. Sarmiento, K. Kearney, R. Watson, D. Zeller, D. Pauly, (2010). Global Change Biology 16, 24-35.

Previous projection of climate change impacts on global food supply focuses solely on production from terrestrial biomes, ignoring the large contribution of animal protein from marine capture fisheries. Here, we project changes in global catch potential for 1,066 species of exploited marine fish and invertebrates from 2005 to 2055 under climate change scenarios. We show that climate change may lead to large scale re-distribution of global catch potential, with an average of 30 – 70% increase in high latitude regions and a drop of up to 40% in the tropics. Moreover, maximum catch potential declines considerably in the southward margins of semi-enclosed seas while it increases in poleward tips of continental shelf margins. Such changes are most apparent in the Pacific Ocean. Among the 20 most important fishing Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) regions in terms of their total landings, EEZ regions with the highest increase in catch potential by 2055 include Norway, Greenland, US (Alaska) and Russia (Asia). On the contrary, EEZ regions with the biggest loss in maximum catch potential include Indonesia, USA (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), Chile, and China. Many highly impacted regions, particularly those in the tropics, are socio-economically vulnerable to these changes. 36 Thus, our results indicate the need to develop adaptation policy that could minimize climate change impacts through fisheries. The study also provides information which may be useful to evaluate fisheries management options under climate change.