FAO: Climate Change Impacting Marine Ecosystem

Climate change will have a strong impact on fisheries and aquaculture, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said this week during a four-day scientific symposium at its Rome headquarters.

Comprising more than 200 scientists and policymakers from around the world, the event addressed the challenges that climate change poses to fisheries and aquaculture and the people who depend on them for food and income.

According to the FAO, impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture already being observed include:

• In marine waters, extreme weather events will increase in frequency and intensity, the most well known of which is the El Niño phenomenon in the South Pacific.

• The ongoing warming of the world's oceans is likely to continue, but with geographical differences and some decadal variability. Warming is more intense in surface waters, with the Atlantic showing particularly clear signs of deep-water warming.

• Changes in fish distributions in response to climate variations, generally involving poleward expansions of warmer-water species and poleward contractions of colder-water species.

• Shifts in ocean salinity are occurring, with near-surface waters in the more evaporative regions of most of the world's oceans increasing in salinity, while marine areas in high latitudes are showing decreasing salinity due to greater precipitation, higher runoff, melting ice and other atmospheric processes.

• The oceans are becoming more acidic, with probable negative consequences to many coral reef and calcium-bearing organisms.

The FAO said it is increasingly focusing its attention on climate change's impact on fisheries and aquaculture.


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