There’s no question that rising global temperatures are changing the ocean environment and causing major impacts on local fisheries. Shifting temperatures have caused many stocks that have served as staples over the centuries to shift northward, following colder temperatures. As the icecaps melt, ocean salinity levels are effected causing ocean currents to shift and bring changes of their own. Ocean acidification has also drastically impacted many local species, especially crustaceans that rely on a highly specific pH for shell development.
In the years to come, we will undoubtedly see these changes in our ocean continue and even intensify. A recent study conducted by scientists at Aarhas University in Denmark suggests that melting ice could ultimately allow for the intermingling of Atlantic and Pacific fish species that have historically been separated by physical barriers.
“The gradual warming of the Arctic Ocean over the next century will weaken a natural barrier that has separated fish from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for millions of years, leading to a mixing of species that could make life difficult in fishing communities from Alaska to Norway.”
The study notes that shifting global temperatures and these accompanying potential geographical changes could have huge ramifications on the species level, along with major impacts to the fishermen who rely on key stocks.
“In this warmer future, fishermen based in Kodiak, Alaska, could be pulling up Atlantic cod, a prized species normally caught off New England and Northern Europe. A similar change has already started off the coast of Greenland, where fishermen in the last five years have been catching larger numbers of Atlantic mackerel, which prefers more temperate water.”
You can learn more about this important study by reading this article or visiting the University’s webpage by clicking here (if you use Chrome as a browser, Google should give you the option to translate the pages).