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Global Fisheries Have Declined Due to Ocean Warming, 'Groundbreaking' Study Finds
More than 56 million people work in the global fishing industry or depend on fish for their main source of food, but that livelihood is already being threatened by climate change, a groundbreaking University of Rutgers led study found.
The study, published in Science Friday, looked at the impact of increased ocean temperatures on sustainable catches around the world over an 80 year period and found they had declined on average by 4.1 percent.
"We were stunned to find that fisheries around the world have already responded to ocean warming," study co-author and Rutgers' Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources associate professor Malin Pinsky told Rutgers Today."These aren't hypothetical changes sometime in the future."
While 4.1 percent might not sound like a large amount, lead author Chris Free explained to The New York Times that it was still a big loss.
"That 4 percent decline sounds small, but it's 1.4 million metric tons of fish from 1930 to 2010," Free said, referring to the 80-year-period covered by the study.
Further, some regions of the world saw a steeper decline. In both the northeast Atlantic and the Sea of Japan, sustainable catches declined by 34 and 35 percent respectively over the study period.
Scientists not involved in the study lauded it as an important contribution to the knowledge of how climate change impacts marine life.
"This is going to be one of those groundbreaking studies that gets cited over and over again," University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences Associate Professor Trevor Branch told The New York Times "Most of what I've seen before in terms of climate-change impacts have been speculative, in terms of, 'We think this is what's going to happen in the future.' This one's different."
The researchers looked at 235 populations of 124 species in 38 regions, according to Rutgers Today.
Here are some of their key findings by region, as reported by The New York Times:
- About a quarter of the regions studied saw fish populations increase; black sea bass catches increased by six percent off the U.S. Atlantic coast.
- About of a quarter of the regions studied saw no changes, including the northwest Atlantic.
- Half of the regions studied saw fish populations decline.
- Fish in colder areas responded better to warming generally than fish in already warm water.
However, the scientists warned that populations that had benefited from warming so far could still be harmed by it in the future.
"Fish populations can only tolerate so much warming, though," senior author and Rutgers' Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences associate professor Olaf Jensen told Rutgers Today. "Many of the species that have benefited from warming so far are likely to start declining as temperatures continue to rise."
The scientists said that ultimately the solution was to curb climate change, but also recommended actions to mitigate its impacts on global fisheries.
"We recommend that fisheries managers eliminate overfishing, rebuild fisheries and account for climate change in fisheries management decisions," Free, who started the research as a doctoral student at Rutgers and is now a post-doctoral scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told Rutgers Today. "Policymakers can prepare for regional disparities in fish catches by establishing trade agreements and partnerships to share seafood between winning and losing regions."
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.