Study: Canada will see large shifts in fish habi­tat

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Re­search says cli­mate change is driv­ing hun­dreds of fish species north from their usual seas and some of the big­gest ef­fects will be along Canada’s Pa­cific coast.

That is likely to cre­ate new chal­lenges for gov­ern­ments seek­ing to reg­u­late and share catches be­tween com­pet­ing ju­ris­dic­tions, said James Mor­ley of Rut­gers Univer­sity in New Jer­sey. Mor­ley found that even if cli­mate change is kept un­der two de­grees, species off Canada’s west coast will move by an av­er­age of more than 200 kilo­me­tres.

“Even in the best-case scenario, on the west coast we still ex­pect to see some pretty sub­stan­tial shifts of species north­ward.”

Mor­ley looked at the im­pact of warm­ing seas on 636 species of ma­rine life on the At­lantic and Pa­cific coasts. About onequar­ter of those species have some com­mer­cial value, he said.

He used ex­ten­sive data about where those species hang out and col­lected oceano­graphic in­for­ma­tion on cur­rents, wa­ter tem­per­a­ture and the shape of sea floors. He ran all that through 16 dif­fer­ent cli­mate mod­els, once to es­ti­mate the im­pact of two de­grees of warm­ing and once to es­ti­mate for four de­grees. He con­cludes that with no more than two de­grees warm­ing — the goal agreed to in the Paris agree­ment — fish on the Pa­cific coast will mi­grate north by an av­er­age of 236 kilo­me­tres. The At­lantic side will see av­er­age move­ment of about 100 kilo­me­tres.

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