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Climate change has affected more species than we can imagine, including the ones that literally go to our plates.
Since global pollution is making the ocean warmer (reducing the oxygen level and making it more acidic), the environment of the sea-caught animals has been changing and therefore their overall development. These changes are literally altering the ocean balance, which includes: where animals are found, what they eat, how they reproduce, and the way they survive. As everything forms a long-lasting cycle, the coastal communities and beyond the fishing industry have been critically affected.
For sure, some fish populations are more affected than others. However, changes need to be done to ensure a proper feed for all human beings in the near future. Below we will share with you the seafood species we think are the most impacted by climate change:
Shrimps are one of the edible species highly caught in the United States water, along the West Coast and from the Gulf of Main to the Gulf of Mexico. According to investigations, shrimps are especially sensitive to water temperature changes and ocean acidification. The year 2012 has given us a bad precedent in that regard, because of the collapse of the Atlantic population of northern shrimps due to a marine heat crisis. Warmer water also brings another type of predator - as longfin inshore squid - to shrimp habitat that has been a potential shrimp killer and is increasing the level of mortality.
Some scientists have forecast the disappearance of about 70% of pink shrimp colonies by the end of the century, due to massive warm waters and the injections of freshwater coming from the Mississippi River floods.
There are many tuna species that can be eaten, however, the most common one is the albacore (also called white tuna) because it is widely commercialized in small cans.
The United States counts 3 albacore spots: the North Atlantic, the South Pacific, and the North Atlantic. However, most of the tuna captured is from North Pacific stock. That specific colony is experiencing a dramatic migration each year due to the warmer waters. Changes in tuna distribution and habitats could inflict severe effects on fishery activities, threatening our food security.
This common flatfish is the one we use to eat when we approach a beach to have some chill, and it is so common to see in the everyday life. The most edible types of flounder are the summer flounder and the winter flounder, and they commonly live on the seafloor.
As their names reflect, summer flounder arrive in the coastal areas in the summer; and winter flounder may be found in coastal waters during spring and winter stations. However, investigations have shown that between both of them, winter flounder is strongly vulnerable to water temperature fluctuation.
Both types of flatfish have switched their communities to the north in recent decades, and that unusual change is related to warming reasons. In the future, the challenge will be to oversee where will be the new location of the colonies and if their reproduction is sufficient to be consumed.
Also called Gadus, is one of the three specimens belonging to the Gadidae family. They tend to live in colder waters, which can make them very sensitive to warmers.
Cod has been harvested since old times and now it is a food security supply and also a cultural distinguish element. One species of cod found from Alaska to Southern California (the Pacific cod) is highly sensitive to changes in temperate and it is causing severe impacts in the community from the Gulf of Alaska. In fact, a study noted that from the year 2014 to 2016 their quantity decreased a 70%, and the direct fishing activities to catching them were finally closed in the year 2020. Marine temperates also have effects on cod egg incubation, which slow reproduction and reduce the availability of food.
Young Pacific Salmons live their lives in the ocean before the time when they get sexual maturity. Then, they got back to their natal river to put their eggs. During that process, they are affected by multiple factors such as pollution, habitat impacts, bycatch, and dams, causing distortion in the success of the population. Salmon is deeply connected with forest health and supports indigenous subsistence, commercial, and entertainment fishing activities. It is also an important food in the diet of mammals and other marine animals.
More interesting articles:
- New York Harbor’s Oysters
- Fish crimes in the global oceans
- Red Knot Shorebird and the biodiversity
- 10 of the Largest Living Sea Creatures
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