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Impacts of Climate Change Upon Freshwater and Marine Fish


The impacts of climate change can be devastating on the world’s fisheries, their income potential and our food source. Certain fish will become extinct, losing their habitat, their food supplies, and their ability to adapt to the new projected changes in the ecosystems of the world.

The impacts of climate change on fisheries will be such that poor water, and water salinity factors, as well as water shortages will affect the food chain and commercial enterprises when the fish begin to disappear from worlds and seas. Fresh water fish are also targeted by the impacts of climate change.

The impacts of climate change can be insurmountable for freshwater trout, which are very sensitive, to even a slight change in temperature, so much so, that an entire stream of brookies could cease to exist. Trout will become very stressed by the water change, as will other freshwater fish such as pike and walleye bass. Though bass and bluegill are not as sensitive to temperature changes they will not escape other impacts of climate change. The constant readjusting of water levels from major storms, heavy rainfalls, and even droughts will tamper with their ability to reproduce affecting their eggs, larvae, and fry. In turn, the impacts of climate change upon the spawn will lead to fewer adult fish.

Some species of trout are on the endangered species alert and it is expected that an additional 42 and 90 percent of trout would be lost by the end of the century, depending on their geographic location. Also 40 percent decline of salmon population in the Pacific Northwest is projected as well. The added salinity in the water flowing into the rivers and tributaries because of rising sea levels will make the fresh water reservoirs inhabitable for freshwater fish that cannot tolerate salty water. Finally the water temperature and water level changes will also facilitate the growth of toxic plants such as hydrilla, and the giant salvinia.

Marine fish will also suffer from the impacts of climate change. Like the freshwater fish, marine fish will suffer from water temperature changes causes them to gasp for oxygen, die off, or dwindle in numbers. They will not spawn and lay eggs as often or in the same quantity as they do now. Some fish will migrate to different areas in search of a better habitat. This too will cause problems for the local populations that depend upon these fish for food and income. Scientists have already noted the differences in fish populations of Barents Sea due to climate and temperature changes in the water over a hundred year period. Similarly the population of codfish found in the Atlantic Ocean has fluctuated in accordance with the temperature readings of that Ocean as well.

Other marine life implicated, as being very susceptible to ocean climate changes are sardines, anchovies, pilchards, and most importantly herring. Changes in the zooplankton production because of wind variations affected the Jack Mackerel, a vital economic market in Tasmania.

Pacific Tuna is a major fishing industry, because of water temperatures in the water, Shipjack Tuna has migrated to other waters. North Pacific Sockeye Salmon have left the Pacific Waters for the Bering Sea.

Marine fish populations in general will decrease or migrate to other destinations and thus change the fishing industry while freshwater fish will dwindle in number and even die out completely due to the impacts of climate change upon the waters of the world.

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