Public Release: 

Seafood supply altered by climate change

University of British Columbia

The global supply of seafood is set to change substantially and many people will not be able to enjoy the same quantity and dishes in the future due to climate change and ocean acidification, according to UBC scientists.

These findings were released today in Japan by the Nereus program, an international research team led by UBC scientists and supported by the Nippon Foundation. The Nereus program was formed to study the future of the world's oceans and seafood resources. Today it released a summary of the first phase of its research in a report titled 'Predicting Future Ocean.' Researchers say that the future supply of seafood will be substantially altered by climate change, overfishing and other human activities.

"The types of fish that we will have on our dinner table will be very different in the future," said William Cheung, UBC associate professor and the co-director of the Nereus program. "Fisheries will be catching more warm-water species, with smaller size, and that will affect fish supply through our domestic and oversea fisheries as well as imports."

The report highlighted climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing and destruction of marine ecosystems as the primary drivers of ocean change. Researchers say these changes will lead to a decline in fisheries in many regions and alter marine biodiversity and food web structures.

Researchers say there are solutions to help the ocean and communities prepare for the future. These include improving ocean governance globally to ensure sustainable fisheries and the need to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

"Global marine ecosystems have already been largely altered by overfishing," said Daniel Pauly, professor at UBC and an advisor to Nereus. "This report clearly points out that any solution needs to deal with the CO2 problem as well."

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BACKGROUND

The Nereus Program

The Nippon Foundation committed $12.25 million US in 2010 to UBC to establish NF-UBC Nereus - Predicting the Future Ocean, a nine-year interdisciplinary research project that was created to further knowledge of how best to attain sustainability for our world's oceans. In addition to the Nippon Foundation and UBC, the Program is comprised of several other partner institutions, including the University of Cambridge, Duke University, Princeton University, Stockholm University, United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre and Utrecht University. http://www.nereusprogram.org

Report, graphics and animated videos available at: http://www.nippon-foundation.or.jp/en/news/articles/2015/13.html

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