In a new paper published this week in Science, a group of researchers led by Dr. Chris Free of UC Santa Barbara and Prof. Malin Pinsky of Rutgers found that worldwide fishery productivity has already declined due to warming seas. According to the authors, the maximum sustainable yield of the world’s fisheries fell by four percent between 1930-2010 due to warming, with some ecoregions experiencing larger declines of 15-35 percent.
While the percentage decline seems small, it represents about 1.4 million tonnes per year of lost animal protein for human consumption, or about 0.7 percent of the global total from all animal species. It also represents an additional cause of fish population pressure in an era characterized by widespread overfishing and illegal, unreported and unregulated harvests. Read on.