An increase of 3.4% in global fisheries production could help meet projected dietary fish demands in 2050, reports a paper published online in Nature Climate Change. Regional fish production will vary, with high latitude locations expected to see an increase while there could be a decrease in the low to mid-latitudes, although the changes are expected to be a maximum of 10% of the current yields.
To estimate the ecological consequences of climate change on fisheries, Manuel Barange and colleagues applied physical and biological models to 67 exclusive economic zones around the world, which account for around 60% of global fish catches. The societal impact of the results was determined by evaluating the dependence of individual countries on fisheries and the expected global demand due to rising population. West African fishery-dependent nations are expected to benefit from climate change, whereas countries in south and southeast Asia, southwest Africa, Peru and some small tropical island states could experience negative impacts.
The authors highlight that the 2050 global fish demand will only be met if strategies for sustainable harvesting are implemented, there is ongoing aquaculture technological developments (for example, to reduce dependence on wild stock for feed) and wild fish products are effectively distributed when a nation has surplus.