WASHINGTON, March 25 (UPI) — U.S. government scientists say they have created a computer model that is one of the first to directly link a specific fish with climate change effects.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers said their new climate-population model considers rising ocean temperatures and fishing rates involving the future of the Atlantic croaker fishery. Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) is a U.S. east coast marine fish with an $8 million annual commercial fishery.
“Some fish populations will increase and others decrease as a result of climate change,” said the study’s lead author, Jon Hare of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “Our results demonstrate that climate effects on fisheries must be identified and understood, included in the scientific advice to managers, and factored into fishery management plans if sustainable exploitation is to be achieved.”
For various temperature and fish population scenarios over the next 90 years, the researchers forecast that at current levels of fishing, the spawning population of Atlantic croaker would increase 60-100 percent and the center of the population would shift approximately 30-65 miles northward, with the maximum sustainable yield increasing 30-100 percent.
“Although our model does not include all potential environmental complexities, the recruitment hypothesis on which it is based is supported by both laboratory and field work, and is consistent with current fishery population models,” Hare said.
The study appears in the journal Ecological Applications.
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