Climate Change Driving Fish to Change Habitats

(Lobster boats anchored off Cutler, Maine. Photo by Malin Pinsky, Rutgers University-New Brunswick.)

(CN) — Climate change is prompting fish species to move to new habitats faster than the global system of distributing fish stock, potentially triggering international conflicts, the journal Science reported Thursday.

The report indicates that fisheries for new species are likely to show up for the first time in more than 70 nations around the globe. Newly shared fisheries have led to conflicts among nations in the past.

These disputes have led to overfishing, diminishing the food supply, profits and fishery-related employment, in addition to hindering international relations.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions also would reduce the potential for conflict, according to the report.

“Most people may not understand that the right to harvest particular species of fish is often decided by national and regional fisheries management bodies,” said lead author Malin Pinsky, an assistant professor of ecology, evolution and natural resources at Rutgers University.

“Those bodies have made the rules based on the notion that particular fish species live in particular waters and don’t move much. Well, they’re moving now because climate change is warming ocean temperatures.”

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