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Warmer Oceans Mean Smaller Fish

Warmer Oceans Mean Smaller Fish

Body weights of many marine fish are expected to shrink by up to 24 percent if greenhouse gas emissions rise, according to a new study.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

A team of US- and Canada-based scientists released a study on Sunday indicating that average maximum body weights of many marine fish will drop between 14-24 percent given a quick rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Indian Ocean fish were expected to lose the most weight, followed by fish in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This will have a large impact on ecosystems as well as the fishing industry and global supply. Several warming scenarios were applied, but they all gave approximately the same results, according to the scientists.

What’s the Big Idea?

Warmer oceans mean less oxygen is available for fish. “As the fish grow bigger and bigger it will be difficult to get enough oxygen for growth. There is more demand for oxygen as the body grows. At some point the fish will stop growing.” Rising temperatures also mean more stresses on fish metabolisms. Populations will most likely shift to cooler waters north and south of tropical zones, with a predicted migration rate of between 17 and 23 miles each decade from 2000 until 2050. 

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