A Climate ‘Wake-up Call’

By Sonia Fernandez, UC Santa Barbara

If we proactively implement effective fisheries management and limit global temperature rise, the world’s oceans still have the potential to be significantly more plentiful in the future than today, despite climate change. This finding is among several that appear in a first-of-its kind study, “Improved fisheries management could offset many negative effects of climate change,” that appears today in the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences’ journal Science Advances.

“The expected global effects of climate change on our oceans are broadly negative,” said Steve Gaines, the study’s lead author and dean of UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, “but we still have the fortunate opportunity to turn the tide and create a more bountiful future.”

The study finds that with concerted and adaptive responses to climate change, the world’s oceans could actually create more abundant fish populations, more food for human consumption and more profit for fishermen despite the negative impacts of climate change. Conversely, the study cautions, inaction on fisheries management and climate change will mean even more dramatic losses of fish and the benefits they provide to people.

A dozen leading scientists from institutions including UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, Hokkaido University and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) conducted the research. It is the first study to examine future fishery outcomes under both climate change projections and alternative human responses. It demonstrates that our oceans can be highly productive for decades to come if action is taken now to put effective and forward-looking management practices in place.

“The results from this study are surprisingly positive — if we can adopt sustainable fishing policies and keep global warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius, we can still realize significant benefits to fisheries across the globe,” said Merrick Burden, senior economist with the EDF Oceans program and an author of the paper. “But these benefits require action and this study serves as a wake-up call to governments that they must change the way that fishing takes place or risk losing a crucial opportunity to secure our food supply for generations to come.”

This study examines potential future outcomes for 915 fish stocks across the world under alternative management and climate scenarios. The authors modeled the impact of climate change on fishery productivity and geographical range distribution, which affects how many fish are available and where they can be caught, under four climate projections. These range from a global temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius (strong climate mitigation) to an increase of 4 degrees Celsius (business-as-usual) by 2100. For each of these climate scenarios, the authors examined future biomass, harvest and profit under alternative management approaches using bioeconomic modeling.

The new research shows that roughly 50 percent of species examined will shift across national boundaries and nearly all species are expected to experience changes in productivity in response to rising ocean temperatures. These changes will present new challenges for fishing nations. The study found that the implementation of management practices that account for changes in productivity and geographic range distribution can lead to global gains in profits, harvest and biomass compared to today. These practices range from flexible management strategies, including responsible harvest policies that account for changing stock productivity, to the creation and improvement of existing governance institutions to deal with shifting stocks, such as multilateral fishery agreements.

“Cooperation among nations will be increasingly important for ensuring future fisheries benefits as stocks shift across management boundaries,” said Tracey Mangin, an author of the paper and researcher at UCSB’s Sustainable Fisheries Group, explaining that rising ocean temperatures can send fish stocks beyond their traditional geographical ranges as they track their preferred thermal habitats. “These shifts can undermine previously effective and well-designed management approaches, as they can incentivize overfishing and change which nations have access to the fish stocks, which can weaken existing fishing agreements.”

While improved management may lead to improved global outcomes, those outcomes will vary regionally. The results indicate that future fishery profits are expected to decline in tropical latitudes even with management that fully adapts to climate challenges. This means that equatorial nations, many of which have developing economies and are highly dependent on seafood as a source of food and income, will be hardest hit. And how much planetary warming occurs will make a significant difference on the abundance, harvest and profit from fisheries.

“Even with the right management changes, there will be winners and losers, and we have to tackle this head-on,” Gaines said. “Success will require not only emissions reductions but also multilateral cooperation and real changes in fisheries management. With our growing global population and the increasing needs for healthy sources of protein, these changes will be critical for meeting United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

The impacts of inaction are also clear. Billions of people rely on fish as their primary source of protein. Most fishing nations are not responding fast enough to create change, and successful transboundary management programs are relatively rare. But action doesn’t take long to have an impact on some species. Studies have demonstrated that many fisheries can bounce back from overfishing in as little as 10 years’ time under the right policies.

“Climate change is expected to hit hardest in many of the places where fisheries are already poorly managed — things are likely to get a lot worse if we don’t act,” said Christopher Costello, an author of the paper and a professor of environmental and resource economics at UCSB. “We can expect inaction to bring increased conflict as fish move into new waters, along with threats to food security in some of the world’s most vulnerable places.”

“Fishermen will be among the most affected by climate change, and this research confirms what they are already seeing on the water,” said Katie McGinty, senior vice president of EDF Oceans. “The window is narrow, but we have the tools and a clear roadmap to build a future with more fish, more food and more prosperity — if we act now.”

The study did not examine other potential threats from climate change such as ocean acidification, or new ways that species might interact. These threats require further study beyond the scope of this paper.


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  1. SBZZ, here you go. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9V9qM-lFMh8 This is a Youtube channel from whom I call the “Adapt 2030” guy. I originally ran across him during the Oroville Spillway Destruction event in Feb 2017. He publishes regularly on his channel, so there are ads which you can skip after a few seconds. On some topics he is a bit over the top, but his take on interpreting climate issues is worth listening to in my opinion. His view, which I share, is that cycles in the earth’s climate are driven by cycles in solar output as manifested by the sunspot cycle. Cold periods on the planet coincide with solar minimums and hot periods coincide with solar maximums. Grand solar minimums tend to have severe impacts on human life due to severe disruption in cultivation. Take him or leave him, but he is more credible than the Al Gore types who predicted with conviction that by the Mid 2010s that we would have an ice free arctic and that snow would be a thing of the past.

  2. Of course you share the views of someone who shares your views, but those views are completely unscientific and utterly contrary to the evidence but rather are based on political ideology. And Al Gore did not predict either of those things, nor did the thousands of climate scientists whose work his movie was based on. Meanwhile, Arctic ice volume has dropped dramatically and the glaciers continue to shrink.

  3. Global warming means the atmosphere is warmer. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor. More water vapor means more precipitation, including snowfalls. Snowfalls aren’t a sign that the globe is cooling, and saying that it does reveals complete and utter ignorance of even the most basic facts about the climate. Climate science denial is motivated by libertarian ideology, not an interest in the truth … thus the deniers tell lies about supposedly unreported snowfalls, predictions that were never made, and on and on. SG has no interest in “debate” — if he did, he would know better than to make such appallingly ignorant and fallacious claims. Here try some facts, data, evidnece, and truth instead: https://skepticalscience.com/print.php?r=448 “… The bottom line is that the sun and the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth are very stable. Even during the Maunder and Dalton grand solar minima, global cooling was relatively small – smaller than the amount of global warming caused by human greenhouse gas emissions over the past century.
    A new grand solar minimum would not trigger another LIA; in fact, the maximum 0.3°C cooling would barely make a dent in the human-caused global warming over the next century, likely between 1 and 5°C, depending on how much we manage to reduce our fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. While this is equivalent to about a decade’s worth of human-caused warming, it’s also important to bear in mind that any solar cooling would only be temporary, until the end of the solar minimum.”

  4. “Conversely, the study cautions, inaction on fisheries management and climate change will mean even more dramatic losses of fish and the benefits they provide to people.” — We can thank people like Shasta Guy for the decades of inaction when we needed the opposite. Sadly, there is little reason to think that we will “proactively implement effective fisheries management and limit global temperature rise”.

  5. If this what we’re eating for breakfast, how are we going to “keep global warming at no more than 2 degrees Celsius” as the article advises.
    According to the 2013 study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, “Pig supply chains are estimated to produce 0.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent per annum, representing nine per cent of the livestock sector’s emissions.
    Chickens are estimated to emit 0.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent, representing eight per cent of the livestock sector’s emissions.”

  6. Additional sites I get information from are: https://www.iceagenow.info This site collects the stories not often reported. You’ll see the coverage of the August snowfalls here. and I’m sure someone will figure out how it is secretly supported by Dick Cheney and Halliburton. The second is: https://realclimatescience.com He has a whole bunch of nature photos before you get his new content. The guy behind this website does a lot of temperature data analysis. We have yet to match the high temperatures of the 1930s. When running averages are applied to things such as “days above 95F”, all the trends are down. You would think that if we were warming, the trend of such things would be up. Eventually, the data will support which hypothesis is correct.

  7. The Danish Metrological Institute tracks the Greenland ice sheet daily. Presently, the ice mass of the ice sheet is right at the mean as bench marked by data from 1981 to 2010. https://www.dmi.dk/en/groenland/maalinger/greenland-ice-sheet-surface-mass-budget/ When it was below the mean, it was being shouted from the roof tops that the Greenland ice sheet was melting as predicted. But now that it is back at the mean and at times exceeding it…crickets. I”ll get to your glacier shrinking statement later.

  8. Here is excellent data compiled on global sea ice: https://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/ Lots of charts. I mean lots of charts for the dataphiles out there. Sea ice is quite cyclical, and one would be hard pressed to say that we’re in a catastrophic decline when it really looks like we in a longer term undulation around a mean. This site sources all the data so you can dig in as deep as you want. One of the more interesting plots is this one: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php You see dmi in the link which is the Danish Metrological Institute. This tracks the temperature of the arctic above 80N. The green line is the mean, and the blue is the freezing temperature of water. As you can see, the arctic had a poor melt season this year with the measured temperature failing to achieve the mean most of this year.

  9. Anomalous snowfall in one month of one year is weather. All of the record hottest temperatures being in the last 20 years is climate. This appalling politically-motivated (actually greed-motivated at its base) willful ignorance of science is going to lead to a mass extinction that will include us. The irrefutable facts that matter are:
    (1) Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
    (2) Greenhouse gases trap heat by absorbing infrared radiation
    (3) We are continuing to dump gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere above and beyond natural sources and the ability of natural carbon sinks to absorb it.

  10. Yes, you get your “information” from well known crank science denier sites, but never from actual climate scientists, science journals, or the like. Despite your quick dismissal of what your sources do for a living, I’m sure you characterize scientists as hoaxers just trying to get their hands on grant money — certainly your sources push such irrational lies. “The guy behind this website” is complete crank pushing an anti-science agenda. He does not do “data analysis”, he cherry picks to fit his beliefs, which are truly nutty … right off his front page: ”
    100% Of US Warming Is Due To NOAA Data Tampering
    100% Predictable Fraud From Government Climate Scientists
    1986 – The Year When Climate Fraud Reached A Tipping Point
    All Temperature Adjustments Monotonically Increase
    Alterations To Climate Data
    Arctic Sea Ice Fraud
    Biggest Fraud In Science History
    Climate Racketeering
    CRU Temperature Fraud
    CU Sea Level Fraud
    Disappearing Glaciers
    Fitting An Elephant
    GHCN Code
    GHCN Software
    Glacial Retreat Before 1910
    Global Temperature Record Is A Smoking Gun Of Collusion And Fraud
    Hansen Confirmed The MWP In 1981
    History Of NASA/NOAA Temperature Corruption
    Ice-Free Arctic Forecasts
    Ice-Free Arctic Forecasts
    NASA Doubling Warming Since 2001
    NASA Hiding The Decline
    NASA Hiding The Decline In Sea Level And Temperature
    NASA Sea Level Fraud
    NASA/CRU Southern Hemisphere Temperature Fraud
    NOAA Global Temperature Fraud
    NOAA US Temperature Fraud
    NOAA’s US Climate Extremes Index Is Fraudulent
    NSIDC Busted!
    One Hundred Years Of Arctic Warming And Cooling
    Pulling Back The Curtain Software
    Reducing CO2 – To Save The Climate
    Systematic Destruction Of The Temperature Record
    The 100% Fraudulent Hockey Stick
    The 52% Consensus
    The Corrupt History Of NASA Temperature History
    The Government Knew
    The NASA Temperature Record Is Garbage
    Visualizing NOAA/NASA US Data Tampering
    West Antarctic Collapse Scam” … this is not how rational, scientifically based people operate, and no remotely intelligent or intellectually honest person would recommend his site. “We have yet to match the high temperatures of the 1930s. When running averages are applied to things such as “days above 95F”, all the trends are down.” — Not a word of this is true. “Eventually, the data will support which hypothesis is correct.” — We already have massive data showing not only that the globe is warming but that it’s a result of human industrial activity, but you won’t find that data at the anti-science websites that you restrict yourself to.

  11. “Additional sites I get information from are: https://www.iceagenow.info ” — what if evidence were to come along that showed that there isn’t going to be an ice age now? Would the site owner change the name of his site? This is one of the many ways that you can tell that this is a crank site that no intelligent person would promote or “get information from”. Here’s a site that you don’t read because it doesn’t say what you want to hear: https://www.desmogblog.com/iceagenow — “IceAgeNow regularly publishes articles skeptical of climate change by its author, and sole employee, Robert Felix — a former architect. George Monbiot at The Guardian describes IceAgeNow as primarily serving to promote Felix’s book about the “coming ice age.” Monbiot says that Felix selectively picks evidence in his attempt to disprove man-made global warming. [18], [2]
    “Is Felix a climatologist, a volcanologist or an oceanographer?” Monbiot asks. “Er, none of the above. His biography describes him as a ‘former architect’. His website is so bonkers that I thought at first it was a spoof. Sadly, he appears to believe what he says.” … and sadly some profoundly stupid, ignorant, and intellectually dishonest people also believe what he says simply because they want to.

  12. Too bad that your source doesn’t support a word that you say: “Satellite observations over the last decade show that the ice sheet is not in balance. The calving loss is greater than the gain from surface mass balance, and Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr.” — “I”ll get to your glacier shrinking statement later” — why bother? It will just be more dishonest cherry picking, citing anti-science sources that share your agenda, and further demonstration that you don’t understand anything about climate science. I already know how your game is played … I have a lot of experience with climate science deniers. But no matter how many lies they tell, the fact remains that glacial ice mass is shrinking (https://skepticalscience.com/himalayan-glaciers-growing-intermediate.htm). And of course it is shrinking because the average global temperature is increasing.

  13. Wattsupwiththat is the premier site promoting climate science denial; no one honest cites it. A typical fact about WUWT is that they promoted Richard Muller’s Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project and swore that they would stand by its results regardless of what they were, up until the results agreed with established climate science (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Muller#Climate_change), at which point they demonized him and declared that he had never been a real skeptic in the first place. WUWT is run by bad people, is frequented by bad people, and is recommended by bad people.

  14. Interesting, but there are different food producing regions at greater risk in my opinion. At risk not due to global warming, but due to global cooling brought on by the impending Grand Solar Minimum we are now entering. This will cause a shortening of the growing seasons in the grain producing regions of the northern reaches of the N. hemisphere and the southern reaches of the S. hemisphere (grain producing regions of Australia). In August, there were multiple unexpected snowfall events in Asia, North America, and Europe. This does not fit the global warming narrative, so things like this generally do not get reported. Many people here will not agree with me, but I’d rather debate than blindly down vote. The GSM will take many by surprise since they’ve only been told about planet doom from global warming.

  15. Chinese fleet fishing practices are the guilty parties; not “climate change”. 20 years ago China fed itself mainly on homegrown chickens and boiled eggs for protein. Now they are devastating global sea beds with massive fish trawling operations.

  16. I appreciate everyone’s vigorous responses which are too numerous to respond to individually. Climate discussion has become like religion with people falling back on their core beliefs while dismissing everyone else’s. I am not of the opinion that the “science is settled” here, and I firmly believe that mother nature has a few things up her sleeve that will surprise us. I respect all your your opinions, but I dismiss all your labels. There are significant issues with CO2 being the sole cause of temperature change on the planet. The next couple years will be revealing. If elevating CO2 levels are the cause, then we’ll see warmer temps, more ice melt, and increased rates of sea level rise relative to the sea level rise since the end of the last ice age. If the climate is controlled by the effects of reduced sun spots, then we’ll see worsening crop conditions due to the onset of early winter conditions and late spring cold weather as we approach the solar minimum. I shall agree to disagree with you all and wait for a couple more seasons to data to come in.

  17. Thanks for your post, and I looked at the link. Tamino starts his temperature plots in the late 70s which makes everything look like a scary linear increase to the present day. The 1970s were actually quite cool to the point where the talk of the day was wondering if new ice age was going to to being. To present a non-disingenuous temperature plot you must go all the way back the 1930s when the temperatures were actually higher. Since that doesn’t support the manmade global warming narrative, data is truncated in order to make it seem that things are warmer now than they’ve ever been.

  18. The SG comment, though he often claims “you have to look at both sides”, is loaded with bogus information from big-carbon propaganda sites. There are no “two sides” to the data. Scientific data on the climate changes we are inducing are readily available from sites produced by actual climate scientists instead of alt-reality propagandists.

  19. This is an example of why it’s important to go back a ways when looking at temperature trends: https://realclimatescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/September-1918-2018-At-All-US-Historical-Climatology-Network-Stations-Red-Line-Is-5-Year-Mean-PercentOfDaysAbove90_shadow.png This plot starts a approximately 1920 and charts percentage of days above 90F. Despite increasing CO2 for the last century, the trend in days above 90F has been down for the last century. This is data for your perusal. Tear it apart or be curious.

  20. Just more bogus data uploaded by a random kook.
    Here’s where “realclimatescience” is really coming from.

  21. Your comments are colorful. Did you actually look at the plot, and by what criteria do you deem it bogus? I did check out desmogblog which appears to be compilation of skeptics as defined by the global warming community.

  22. Every site you link to is *well known* as a climate science denial site with a political, not scientific agenda (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Warming_Policy_Foundation). That you *only* read and refer to such sites, and no actual science sites, is typical and indicative. One cannot rationally make their own assessment based on isolated plots cherry picked by people who are already committed to a particular conclusion.

  23. The claim that it was hotter in the 1930’s is a blatant lie: https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-temperature … SG blathers about religion and core beliefs, but it’s only the science deniers who operate that way. Honest people look at the facts to see what they show, rather than starting with ideologically driven beliefs and then seeking out sites like WUWT and GWPF that confirm them, while completely ignoring peer reviewed research, or science sites like realclimate.org … and when shown valid analysis by scientists like Tamino, they blatantly lie about it. These deniers are fundamentally bad people who are guilty of major crimes against humanity.

  24. SG blatantly misrepresented the Danish Metrological Institute’s findings, totally ignoring the statement on their page that he himself linked to that “Greenland is losing mass at about 200 Gt/yr.” He doesn’t actually read this stuff, he just copies the link from some lying article at WattsUpWithThat. Then he just moves on to something else, telling some other lie about temperatures in the 1930’s, and linking to well known liars like GWPF. This is what evil people do. One could spend a lifetime refuting the lies of such corrupt people as they just trot out another one after another one, but there’s a limit even for me. But even if his additional lies go unanswered, you all know in your hearts that they are lies. Over and out.

  25. That plot link has no scientific value. No error bars, no explanation of the data processing. No source references. Just a beginning Excel level plot. Really, if you’re as gullible in real life as you present yourself here, there are multiple bridges you may be interested in.

  26. Yes, the UK was hot as the article states. Across the Channel however, significant snow (in some cases a foot or more) fell in Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Turkey. Additionally, significant snow also in parts of north america and in Japan. This was whole northern hemisphere event. The early european snow had added significant because of last season snow in May of this year which had a severe effect on crops. Snow in May followed by snow in August causes chaos for farmers. The August snow event in Germany was called “Snow Chaos”.

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