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Climate Change at the Dinner Table

Wednesday 29 May 13
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Mark Payne
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 22

An innovative use of catch statistics shows that climate change has already influenced the composition of species in fisheries around the world, and thereby the fish that we eat. 'News & Views-article' in Nature  by Mark Payne, DTU Aqua

Changes in the spatial distribution of species are on of the major predicted impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. A new study in Nature presents startling evidence that global fisheries catches have already changed in a manner associated with the warming trend - climate change is suddenly an unexpected guest at dinner.

In an innovative approach Cheung and collegeaues analyses the mean temperature of catches, that is the composition of the catch in terms of the 'thermal preference of species'. The authors applied this metric to the annual catch of 990 species across 52 large marine ecosystems from 1970 to 2006.

Under the headline "Climate change at the dinner table", Mark R. Payne from the Centre for Ocean Life, National Institute for Aquatic Resources (DTU Aqua), writes about the study in a "News & Views"-article in Nature, vol 497, May 16th.

According to Mark Payne, the findings make a strong case that warming sea surface temperatures are changing catch composition around the world. Furthermore, they suggest that catch composition in tropical regions has stabilized, implying that these regions have already become too hot for all but the warmest-warmer species.

Payne also suggest that consumers and fishing communities will need to adapt to new species appearing in fshings nets and the dwindling presence of traditional species. Resources will be required to aid this adaptation, particularly in tropical countries.

Read the full News & Views in Nature online:

Mark R. Payne: "Fisheries: Climate Change at the Dinner Table"
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v497/n7449/full/497320a.html

Cheung et .al: Signature of Ocean Warming in Global Fisheries Catch
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v497/n7449/full/nature12156.html