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Pacific News Minute: UN: Climate Change May Lead to Dramatic Shift in Fisheries Worldwide

Flickr / Yasuhiro Chatani
Flickr / Yasuhiro Chatani

Most projections of the impact of climate change and sea level rise focus on flooding and agriculture, but a new report from the UN suggests major changes in fisheries as well…we have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.


A report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, warns that warming seas and acidification will create winners and losers by 2050. In general, fish are expected to move out of the tropics, toward cooler waters in higher latitudes.


According to the industry website Undercurrent News, Stefania Vannuccini, the senior fishery officer of the FAO told a seafood conference in Baiona, Spain that global catch potential could drop as much as 40 percent in the tropics. That would represent a major loss for Pacific Island nations, many already threatened by flooding, salt water intrusion and more frequent and more damaging storms.


Her report concludes that large pelagic species like tuna will change their habits and that acidification will damage the booming aquaculture industry, though, again, it might make aquaculture possible in different places, like newly flooded parts of Southeast Asia.


Other factors that could be changed or disrupted by global warming include ocean currents, El Niño events, rainfall, river flow…and Vannuccini’s report noted that some changes are already underway.

Over 36 years with National Public Radio, Neal Conan worked as a correspondent based in New York, Washington, and London; covered wars in the Middle East and Northern Ireland; Olympic Games in Lake Placid and Sarajevo; and a presidential impeachment. He served, at various times, as editor, producer, and executive producer of All Things Considered and may be best known as the long-time host of Talk of the Nation. Now a macadamia nut farmer on Hawaiʻi Island, his "Pacific News Minute" can be heard on HPR Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
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