Looking To Fish For Answers in Climate Change

It has been forecasted by several regulatory agencies including the EPA, IPCC and UN; that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will increase during the 21st century, unless current levels of gas emissions are substantially reduced. An association of a raise in sea levels and the earth’s average temperature are a result in an increase of greenhouse gas concentrations. Furthermore, there may be a direct relationship between this observation and the magnitude of storm patterns observed within the past ten years.

According to the Environment Protection Agency, the amount and speed of future climate change may depend on:

1.Whether greenhouse gases and aerosol concentrations increase, stay the same or decrease.
2.How strongly features of the climate (e.g. temperature, precipitation and sea level) respond to changes in greenhouse gas and aerosol concentrations.
3.How much the climate varies as a result of natural influences (e.g. from volcanic activity and changes in the sun ’s intensity) and its internal variability (referring to random changes in the circulation of the atmosphere and oceans).

Several phenological studies seem to suggest a correlation of overfishing and climate linked temperature shifts may have resulted in a change in migration patterns of several cold water over the past decade. Considering that 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water (Arnett, 2006) researchers have increased their attention to the earth’s oceans and its’ residents for clues.

FishBase is a comprehensive database of information about fish. As of October 2006, it includes descriptions of over 29,400 species, over 222,300 common names in hundreds of languages, over 42,600 pictures, and references to more than 38,600 works in the scientific literature. Many of these scientific work relate to climate change and the effect on fish.


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [Online]. Future Climate Change. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/futurecc.html on December 31, 2007.

UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), 2002-2003
Using historical datasets to investigate impacts of fishing and climate change on demersal fish assemblages. (With Prof. SJ Hawkins & Prof AJ Southward, MBA).

Bill Arnett [Online]. last updated: 2006 Jul 16 The most recent version of this page can be found at http://www.nineplanets.org/earth.html Retrieved December 31, 2007.

Ahern, K. (2007). Very Fishy. Biotechniques 43:6. pp731.

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