Warmer Waters are Already Impacting Fish
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the slight warming we’re already experiencing due to global climate change is having significant impacts on how North America’s fish species reproduce, grow, and even where they live. It is one of the most comprehensive reviews of how climate change is impacting fisheries ever released.
Some of the findings are quite worrisome. New fish hybrids are being created resulting from different fish species that used to migrate at separate times, but are now coming into contact. This is causing altered prey-predator dynamics that could impact the overall ocean food chain. There are also well-documented shifts in abundance of numerous inland fishes, including sockeye salmon. While some species will benefit, other will not, and due to the deep complexities of ocean ecosystems, figuring out the long-term impacts and how to mitigate them will be major challenges.
All hope is not lost, of course. With increased knowledge through comprehensive reports and data, fisheries managers can build robust responses that help build resiliency and also protect highly vulnerable fish species as well as their habitats.