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Weekly Overview: Act Now on Climate Change or Face the Consequences on our Oceans

Sustainability Economics Politics +2 more

ANALYSIS - Climate change has been the most talked about topic this last week as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest assessment of the impact of climate change on the worlds environment, writes Lucy Towers, TheFishSite Editor.

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The report suggests that climate change is impacting greatly on our oceans, speeding up the degradation of marine environments and that, if action is not taken now, the consequences could be irreversible.

Findings from the report also suggest that globally, climate change is projected to cause a large-scale redistribution of global fish catch potential and a possible loss of up to 13 per cent to annual total fishery value in the US, or globally over $100 billion annually by 2100.

Another study, released this week, also states that climate change is also leading to a decrease in the amount of food reaching marine life on the seafloor.

The report, Global reductions in seafloor biomass in response to climate change, states that climate change is expected to warm the ocean surface, reducing the amount of nutrients that rise up from below. This affects the growth of phytoplankton, microscopic plants that form the basis of the marine food web. In turn, there is less organic material to sink down to seafloor communities. This can affect deep-sea ecosystems’ composition, how they function and the valuable services they provide, such as deep-water fishing.

There was good news this week for Alaska's Bristol Bay sockeye salmon fishery, after Rio Tinto withdrew from the Pebble Mine proposal. Rio Tinto has followed in the footsteps of Anglo American, who also withdrew last year. There is now no major funder backing the Pebble Mine proposal.

New plans have been set out to help England's fishermen adapt to the discards ban and put an end to the wasteful practice of throwing perfectly good fish back into the sea.

The proposals have been set out by the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice in one of three consultations on the implementation of the EU’s reformed Common Fisheries Policy. Defra has proposed how the new system of managing quota can be used to help fishermen adapt to the discards ban, and benefit from the extra catch they land.