The Northland Age

Marine heatwave -- what fish can you catch this summer?

Forecast 1.1C rise over normal sea temperatur­e may lure tuna, marlin and mahimahi, a marine expert says

- Angela Woods

As a marine heatwave approaches this summer, more tropical fish may be swimming into Northland waters. Niwa has forecast sea surface temperatur­es between Tasmania and the Chatham Islands could be 1.1 degrees above normal in January.

Summer sea temperatur­es last year were the highest on record in northern and eastern parts of the North Island, higher than the previous record marine heatwave in 2017/18.

Niwa marine ecologist Dr Darren Parsons said migratory species such as tuna, marlin and mahimahi may increasing­ly arrive on our shores.

“It could be that a warmer summer means that we get more of these tropical migrants over summer, but we don’t know.”

Initial research suggested traditiona­lly North Island fish such as snapper, John Dory and kingfish were making their way south and others, such as red cod and maomao were becoming less abundant in the North.

Any immediate changes to fish species in the region would not be dramatic, Parsons said.

“Generally speaking, the fish that are presently abundant in Northland will continue to be the fish that are abundant in Northland, even during or after a marine heatwave.”

Warmer waters could also lead to

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