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Large-scale redistribution of maximum fisheries catch potential in the global ocean under climate change

Authors

  • WILLIAM W. L. CHEUNG,

    1. Sea Around Us project, Fisheries Centre, 2202 Main Mall, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5R 1E6,
    2. School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK,
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    • 1Present address: School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.

  • VICKY W. Y. LAM,

    1. Sea Around Us project, Fisheries Centre, 2202 Main Mall, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5R 1E6,
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  • JORGE L. SARMIENTO,

    1. Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Sayre Hall, Forrestal Campus, PO Box CN710, Princeton, NJ 08544-7010, USA
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  • KELLY KEARNEY,

    1. Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program, Princeton University, Sayre Hall, Forrestal Campus, PO Box CN710, Princeton, NJ 08544-7010, USA
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  • REG WATSON,

    1. Sea Around Us project, Fisheries Centre, 2202 Main Mall, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5R 1E6,
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  • DIRK ZELLER,

    1. Sea Around Us project, Fisheries Centre, 2202 Main Mall, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5R 1E6,
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  • DANIEL PAULY

    1. Sea Around Us project, Fisheries Centre, 2202 Main Mall, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5R 1E6,
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William W. L. Cheung, tel. +44 1603 593647, fax +44 1603 591327, e-mail: William.cheung@uea.ac.uk

Abstract

Previous projection of climate change impacts on global food supply focuses solely on production from terrestrial biomes, ignoring the large contribution of animal protein from marine capture fisheries. Here, we project changes in global catch potential for 1066 species of exploited marine fish and invertebrates from 2005 to 2055 under climate change scenarios. We show that climate change may lead to large-scale redistribution of global catch potential, with an average of 30–70% increase 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 semienclosed 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 2055 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 regions, particularly those in the tropics, are socioeconomically vulnerable to these changes. Thus, our results indicate the need to develop adaptation policy that could minimize climate change impacts through fisheries. The study also provides information that may be useful to evaluate fisheries management options under climate change.

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