Fish and other seafood is currently a primary source of protein for more than a billion of the poorest people in the world. For many of them fishing is also the main source of income. Unfortunately, due to rising CO2 emissions oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic. This process is threatening current habitats of fish and shellfish and is negatively affecting the balance of marine life. Many fish species, for instance, are starting to migrate away from the tropics into deeper and colder waters.
A report published by Oceana, international organization working for the protection of the world's oceans, predicts which countries in the coming decades will be most vulnerable to the problems with the ocean-based food security caused by climate change and ocean acidification.
The authors of the report warn about the growing food insecurity especially in small island and coastal countries, such as Maldives, Togo, Comoros, Cook Islands, Eritrea or Guyana. The majority of these nations lack resources which could replace what is lost from the sea. But among the countries threatened by the loss of fish resources due to climate change are also oil-producing nations such as Iran, Libya, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
As underlined by the report, in all the affected countries it will be the poor small-scale fishermen and their families that will suffer the most, even though they are the least responsible for climate change and its impact on the state of marine life.
Among the most important actions needed to minimize the consequences of climate change and ocean acidification, Oceana mentions: reducing CO2 emissions; ending subsidies for fossil fuels; stopping overfishing and destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling; establishing marine protected areas and including the impact of climate change in the ocean resources management.
The full report is available to download here.
Photo credit: Chris Bene / WorldFish (Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)