Global-Warming Induced Changes in the Catch Potential of Regional Seas

W. Cheung, V. Lam, J. L. Sarmiento, K. Kearney, R. Watson, D. Zeller, D. Pauly, V. Christensen, (2011). “Global-Warming Induced Changes in the Catch Potential of Regional Seas,” Fisheries Centre Research Report No. 19 (UBC, Vancouver, BC, Canada)

We projected changes in global catch potential for over one thousand species of exploited marine fish and invertebrates from the early to the mid 21st century, under conservative climate change scenarios. We show that climate change will lead to large-scale redistributions of global catch potential, with an average that may reach increases of 30–70% 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 mid-century include Norway, Greenland, the United States (Alaska) and Russia (Asia). On the contrary, EEZ regions with the biggest loss in maximum catch potential include Indonesia, the United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii), Chile and China. Many highly impacted Regional Seas, particularly those in the tropics, lie adjacent to countries which are socioeconomically vulnerable to these changes.