In fishing waters off of China and Japan, the population of fish, including cod fish — a staple for “fish and chips” — have dropped as much as 35% since the 1930s. Being that fish feed about half of the world’s population, the dwindling fish population is a humanitarian issue as well as an environmental one.
And not only are fish relied upon as a source of food, but over 50 million people worldwide rely on fishing as a source of income.
Globally, the decline in sea life is calculated to be 4.1%, which affects the lives of millions of people daily. Though scientists credit the demise to warming waters that are inhabitable to many species, they also note that the decades of overfishing have hindered the fish population from replenishing.
“Future fisheries’ production may be at even greater risk considering that, owing to climate change, the oceans are continuing to warm even faster than originally predicted,” said Australian scientist Éva Plagányi in this USA Today article.
Just last week, marine biologists, including scientist Christopher M. Free, released a study that measured the impact of warming waters on 124 species in 38 ecological regions. Though they found some species, such as black sea bass, may thrive in warmer waters, the majority of fish will “experience a negative impact on growth.”