Global warming will shrink fish sizes, seafood supply, says study


Global warming may cause fish sizes to shrink

Salmon await processing in Auke Bay, Alaska. Fish sizes are expected to decrease within the next few decades. (Becky Bohrer / AP Photo / October 1, 2012)

By Tiffany Hsu

October 1, 201211:19 a.m.


It’s not just fish populations shrinking, according to a new study. Fish themselves will be much smaller within a few decades.

Global warming linked to greenhouse-gas emissions will cause the body weight of more than 600 types of marine fish to dwindle up to 24% between 2000 and 2050, according to a report in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Additional factors, such as overfishing and pollution, will only make matters worse.

Ultimately, the changes “are expected to have large implications for trophic interactions, ecosystem functions, fisheries and global protein supply,” according to the study.

Aquatic creatures grow depending on the temperature, oxygen and resources available in water, according toresearchers. Fish will struggle to breathe and develop as oceans become warmer and less oxygenated. 

Fewer, smaller fish could result in a supply crunch, leading to higher prices of seafood down the line.

Food costs have soared of late, due in large part to this summer’s severe drought. Concerns from a British trade group of a “world shortage” of pig products have sparked fears of a so-called Aporkalypse of unaffordable bacon.