Climate Change Pushes Fish Across Borders, Potentially Causing “Fish Fights”
In response to warming waters, the fish in our oceans are moving out of national boundaries and disrupting the world’s system for allocating fish stocks. This could potentially lead to international disputes.
“Marine fishes do not have passports and are not aware of political boundaries; they will follow their future optimal habitat,” says Gabriel Reygondeau, co-author of the study and postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia (UBC). “Unfortunately, the potential change of distribution of highly-valuable species between two neighbouring countries will represent a challenge for fisheries management that will require new treaties to deal with transboundary fish stocks.”
To avoid conflicts, the study suggests that governments could discuss more flexible arrangements such as allowing the trade of fishing permits or quotas across international boundaries. Unfortunately, if negotiations fail, overfishing and fractured relations may result.