Warming Oceans Will Change Our Menus, Too

Written by on April 15, 2015 in Fish, Other News, Physical Oceanography
Lemon sole. Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/68474627@N00/2060733910">lemon sole</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">(license)</a>.

Lemon sole. Photo credit: lemon sole via photopin (license).

A new study reveals that popular North Sea fish, like haddock and lemon sole, could soon be harder to find on menus as climate change alters their habitats.

Most species have preferred habitat where they thrive. When that habitat changes (by warming water, in this case) they’re forced to move. In just the last 40 years, the North Sea has warmed four times faster than the global average, changing the distribution of many commercially important species.

To study these effects, researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Bristol developed a model that combined climate projections with long-term fisheries data, which predicted the abundance and distribution of “the UK’s favorite fish” over the next 50 years.

“Our study suggests that we will see proportionally less of some of the species we eat most of as they struggle to cope with warming conditions in the North Sea,” Louise Rutterford, postgraduate researcher in Biosciences at the University of Exeter, explained in a news release.

Lemon sole. Photo credit: Hans Hillewaert, CC-BY-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Lemon sole. Photo credit: Hans Hillewaert, CC-BY-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

These findings have implications for both seafood consumers and the fishing industry.

“We will see a real changing of the guard in the next few decades,” said Dr. Steve Simpson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology & Global Change at the University of Exeter. “Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place. For sustainable UK fisheries, we need to move on from haddock & chips and look to Southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration.”

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Copyright © 2015 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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