Fisherman could be pulling in a much smaller catch in a few decades because of global warming, according to a new study. Decreased oxygen in the water will cause fish sizes to decrease.
“As the fish grow bigger and bigger it will be difficult to get enough oxygen for growth. There is more demand for oxygen as the body grows. At some point the fish will stop growing,” lead author William Cheung of the University of British Columbia in Canada, told Reuters of the findings in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Shrinking fish and its impact
Researchers believe fish mass will decrease by 14 to 24 percent by 2050.
“The reductions in body size will affect whole ecosystems,” Cheung said of the study, based on computer models.
The change in fish size will have a ripple effect, leaving aquatic life forever changed and the seafood business altered, according to Weather.com.
“The consequences of failing to curtail greenhouse gas emissions on marine ecosystems are likely to be larger than previously indicated,” the U.S. and Canada-based scientists wrote.
Fish will migrate
Aside from less oxygen in the water, oceans will also get warmer and create uncomfortable conditions for fish. As a result, researchers believe fish will migrate to new areas.
Scientists believe fish stocks will likely to shift from the tropics towards cooler seas to the north and south. A computer model shows fish will slowly migrate. Estimates show fish will likely move about 20 miles a year.
More on global warming
Energy experts believe the burning of fossil fuels has sparked global warming and it’s not just the fish population that is effected by the warming trend.
The EPA says, “The changing climate impacts society and ecosystems in a broad variety of ways. For example climate change can increase or decrease rainfall, influence agricultural crop yields, affect human health, cause changes to forests and other ecosystems, or even impact our energy supply.”