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Climate changes affect fisheries


Climate changes affect fisheries

An international team of scientists have for four years studied how climate and fisheries affect the important East Greenland seas. By collecting and sharing knowledge about fisheries, eco systems and oceanoraphy they have revealed new valuable insight. Their finds must have consequences.

Arctic and Nordic seas are fragile ecosystem with valuable marine species and other natural resources. These waters are vulnerable and climatic change occurs faster here than in other areas. These waters host some of the most important fisheries, being key elements in the economy of Norway as well as other nations. Improving the management and optimizing utilization of marine resources requires a joint international effort involving researchers from academia, governmental agencies and local fishing industries. Climatic change can affect both the distribution of fish as well as the species composition in the ocean, on one hand disturbing future value creation and business, on the other hand creating new possibilities for new businesses. The Arctic is affected by factors coming from outside the arctic areas. This calls for collective efforts to understand how marine arctic ecosystems are influenced by and react to changes. We need to explore the potential for future sustainable development of businesses and people living in the high north.
 Orientation at Møreforskings lab
The CLIMA project is funded by Arktis 2030 (The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs).  The project involves collaboration between the main institutes and nations operating east Greenland, both with respect to fisheries, research and management. The aim is to integrate currently segmented knowledge on distribution, exploitation and trophic dynamics of fish populations from the East Greenland Ecosystem into a unified framework that also includes a climatic perspective. Quantifying climate-relevant environmental parameters and correlating them to biological variables will improve our understanding of how climatic changes propagate through marine ecosystems and affect fish resources.
 Sample work
CLIMA has provided us with important understanding of ecosystem robustness and vulnerability. We have found that local species richness and total species abundance of the deep-sea fish community rapidly decreased from 1998 to 2015. Concomitant to these changes, bottom temperature has increased, particularly in the southern part, where an increase of roughly 0.5°C is observed along the depths of the continental slope (400 – 1500m). Warming of the Irminger Current upstream is a likely driver of the observed trends in deep demersal fish. Possible explanations for the loss of species richness are that deep water species might be struggling to follow climate velocities due to slow behavioural responses, and/or that regional topography and oceanography create a physical barrier for northward shifts of native cold-water species and the immigration of “new” southern species. We also see a rapid change in community structure at 600 – 1000m between 2005 and 2009 indicating shift in species interaction as response to events in the environment. If the observed ecological trend continues in the future, as seems likely considering climate change, the overall vulnerability of the ecosystem will increase accordingly. Maintaining high taxonomic and functional diversity is important in buffering against climate variability, climate change, overexploitation, and in turn, the collapse of fish stocks and ecosystems.  
The CLIMA team of reasearchers.