PUBLIC LECTURE: Fisheries and Global Warming: Impacts on marine ecosystems
|Fisheries and Global Warming: Impacts on marine ecosystems : Professor Daniel Pauly takes a historical look at fisheries, and comments on the current challenges of global food security
The period following the Second World War saw a massive increase in fishing effort, particularly in the 1960s. However, crashes due to this overfishing began to be reflected in global catch trends in the 1970s, and intensified in the 1980s and 1990s. In response, the industrialised countries of the Northern Hemisphere (where over fishing-induced catch declines appeared first) moved their effort toward deeper waters, and toward the south, i.e., to the coasts of developing countries, and beyond into the southern hemisphere, all the way to Antarctica.
Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, the global expansion of fisheries is completed, and the real global catch, which is much higher than officially reported, peaked in the late 1980s and is now rapidly declining. In parallel, the collateral damage to marine ecosystems and biodiversity continues to increase. Several factors act to prevent the public in developed countries from realising the depth of the crisis fisheries are in, notably the increased imports by developed countries, of seafood from developing countries. Also, the misleading perception that aquaculture can substitute for declining catches is widespread. In some countries, notably the U.S., stocks are being rebuilt, but elsewhere, the failure to respond creatively to these clear trends bode ill for the next decades. Indeed, the effects of global warming (productivity declines in the tropics, widespread disruptions at high latitudes), which have been increasingly felt in the last decades, will strongly impact fisheries and global seafood supply.
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