According to a new report, between 10% and 60% of fish species will be at risk by the end of the century due to warming water. The lower estimate is if we adhere to the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting warming to 1.5C, but that goal is becoming more unlikely every day.
Some of the species at risk will have a major economic impact. Some include popular foods like Atlantic cod and sockeye salmon. Others will affect big game fishing like swordfish.
With over 3 billion people relying on fish as the primary source of protein, this is a serious threat to humanity.
What Makes Fish So Susceptible to Warming Water?
Most reports have only studied adult fish in the past.
This report stands out from the rest because it looks at the effects of warming water at all stages of a fish’s life. Fish embryo’s and spawners (female and male fish) are extremely vulnerable to warming water during reproduction.
Thus, they could not survive to lay the eggs.
Why Such A Large Gap?
A 10% to 60% range is quite large and that is because it depends on certain factors.
The first being if we can actually curb our emission problem. If we cannot, the temperature will rise far more than what the Paris Agreement outlines. Thus, the waters will be made warmer and affect more fish.
The second is where certain fish that are affected are located in their respective ecosystem’s food chain. Obviously, if one fish disappears, something else needs to take its place, but not all fish have the populations to do that.
Thus, a vicious cycle can begin inside of each ecosystem.
Something else to consider is that populations that could survive the change will be affected by overfishing. With a smaller base population, fishing becomes a far more harmful thing.