How Climate Change Could Knock Fish Off of Dinner Plates

Between 1930 and 2010, the global productivity of marine fisheries decreased by 4.1%, according to new research published in the March issue of the journal Science. Moreover, according to the same research study, some of the largest fish-producing ecoregions are experiencing losses of up to 35%.

That decrease over eight decades may sound insignificant, but the lead author of the study told The New York Times, “It’s 1.4 million metric tons of fish from 1930 to 2010.” That matters because as humans have increasingly turned to fish as a source of dietary protein, fisheries have been impacted, with significant declines in fish stocks. Fish is a major part of the diet of over half the world’s population, the growth of which slows no sign of slowing. And with so many people eating so much seafood, the impacts of climate change on that part of the food web could prove to be another problematic part of an increasingly complicated food security equation. In other words, there may be far fewer fish to eat, even as more people want to add seafood to their diets.

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In the same issue of Science, researchers noted how climate change and weather-related factors have caused declines in global maize and wheat production since 1980. And another study, published in early February, explored how humans are in the process of hunting and eating megafauna, from whale sharks to tuna, to extinction.

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