Australian scientists have assessed how 35 common fish species are coping with climate change, finding that most have to deal with new conditions and many are moving towards polar waters to find suitable habitats.
Research led by the University of Tasmania’s institute for marine and Antarctic studies analysed the climate sensitivity of fish found off the south-east coast of Australia. The region is one of more than a dozen global ocean “hotspots” – others include off Brazil, in the Indian ocean and the North Sea – where the water is warming much faster than the global average for the world’s oceans.
The 35 species of fish, ranked for their importance to the commercial fishing industry as well as their ecological significance, had a varied response to increasing sea temperatures and changing levels of nutrients and plankton.
Species such as abalone, blue swimmer crab, southern calamari, southern rock lobster and western king prawns will experience a high impact from changing temperatures.