Fishy Claim: 1.5°C Paris Agreement target could net six million tons of fish annually

From the NIPPON FOUNDATION-NEREUS PROGRAM

Meeting the Paris Agreement global warming target of 1.5°C will have large benefits to fisheries, finds a new Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program study published in Science. For every degree Celsius decrease in global warming, potential fish catches could increase by more than three million tonnes per year.

Effects to marine fisheries in the Arctic, temperate, and tropical regions under 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 degree global warming. CREDIT Design by Lindsay Lafreniere, Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program.

Effects to marine fisheries in the Arctic, temperate, and tropical regions under 1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 degree global warming. CREDIT Design by Lindsay Lafreniere, Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program.

“Changes in ocean conditions that affect fishing catch potential, such as temperature and oxygen concentration, are strongly related to atmospheric warming and therefore also carbon emissions,” says author Thomas Frölicher, Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program Principal Investigator and Senior Scientist at ETH Zürich. “For every metric ton of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, the maximum catch potential decreases by a significant amount.”

The authors compared the Paris Agreement 1.5°C warming scenario to the currently pledged 3.5°C by using computer models to simulate changes in global fisheries and quantify losses or gains. Due to the migration of fish towards cooler waters, climate change would also cause more species turnover, altering the composition of species within the stocks. This would have impacts on fishers and make fisheries management more difficult.

Certain regions are more sensitive to changes in temperature and will have substantially larger gains from achieving the Paris Agreement. The Indo-Pacific area would see a 40% increase in fisheries catches at 1.5° warming versus 3.5°. While the Arctic region would have a greater influx of fish under a high warming scenario, this would result in further sea ice losses and pressures to expand Arctic fisheries.

“The rapid increase in benefits for vulnerable tropical areas is a strong reason why 1.5° is an important target to meet,” says lead author William Cheung, Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program Director of Science and Associate Professor at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. “Countries in these sensitive regions are highly dependent on fisheries for food and livelihood, but all countries will be impacted as the seafood supply chain is now highly globalized. Everyone would benefit from meeting the Paris Agreement. ”

The authors hope these results will provide further incentives for countries and the private sector to substantially increase their commitments and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because of the added benefits to fisheries.

“The trend we have projected is already happening. It’s a train that has left the station and is going faster and faster,” says author Gabriel Reygondeau, Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program Senior Fellow at UBC. “If one of the largest CO2 emitting countries gets out of the Paris Agreement, the efforts of the others will be clearly reduced. It’s not a question of how much we can benefit from the Paris Agreement, but how much we don’t want to lose.”

The study “Large benefits to marine fisheries of meeting the 1.5 °C global warming target” was published in Science. Article link: http://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aag2331

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80 thoughts on “Fishy Claim: 1.5°C Paris Agreement target could net six million tons of fish annually

  1. > “For every metric ton of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, the maximum catch potential decreases by a significant amount.”

    About eight decimal places to the right of significant maybe. Maybe.

    • For every degree Celsius decrease in global warming, potential fish catches could increase by more than three million tonnes per year.
      “Changes in ocean conditions that affect fishing catch potential, such as temperature and …

      Are they saying that the atmosphere warms the ocean?

      I’m no scientist but my reading here on WUWT says that’s not so.
      Air greatly affected by ocean but, ocean affected by air…not so much.

      • Three million tonnes sounds big but what is the yearly world wide catch? About 180million tonnes (includes aquaculture). Three million tonnes not so big, Huh?

      • “Changes in ocean conditions that affect fishing catch potential, such as temperature and oxygen concentration, are strongly related to atmospheric warming and therefore also carbon emissions,” says author Thomas Frölicher

        mikerestin :”Are they saying that the atmosphere warms the ocean?”

        Yes, that caught my eye too. Well the two are “strongly related” but the “therefore” does seem to imply that they think the air is warming the water.

      • These guys completely ignore (1) adaptation, (2) metabolic rates (for every 10 deg C increase, metabolic rates triple), (3) various ecosystems can be altered and a different species becomes dominant, and (4) computer models are notoriously wrong, particularly if they are based on anything related to CO2 and global warming. As we are not warming but probably cooling for decades to come, they are telling us that fish stocks will rise. Great news!

    • @higley7 Don’t forget the huge factor of Seals take maybe 90% of the fish catch. If you want bigger commercial fish yields, then do away with the seal hunting ban.

  2. Something I’ve been pondering for awhile. A change in ocean currents could cause upwelling along the continental shelf, which could cause a population boom.

    I once read an article that claimed the fact that the great bank fish stock is not recovering is in part due to such a change in current flow, and if we were to go into a cooling period the shift would reverse the decline.

    • More high quality cold water fish like cod with more global warming: bring it on. Cod has been getting somewhere between overpriced and unobtainable for about the last ten years.

      The down side ( according the unvalidated model ) is that some tropical species will go “locally extinct” as they migrate to more suitable higher latitudes to adapt to the supposed warming forced in the model runs.

      One thing that does not sit well already since there have very little change in water temps in the tropics anyway.

      In short this is just more GIGO model based studies, pre-constrained to produce unfavourable outcomes and not related to REAL world data.

      • The cod fishery was wiped out by over fishing. Man has been destroying fish stocks since Roman times. If we want to save the fish we should spend our efforts to end trawling and enforce limits on catches of endangered species. Read Callum Roberts’ book “The Unnatural History of the Sea”.
        Also, The Scripps Argo program that monitors temperatures with 3500 free drifting buoys all around the globe compared with the readings of the HMS Challenger (1872-1876) show an increase of .33degrees C in the last 100 years, most in the first 50 years.
        I’d like to see the ethological study that shows fish migrating out of their traditional habitat.

  3. “Meeting the Paris Agreement global warming target of 1.5°C will have large benefits to…”

    Right. Billions of $ are spent of grants for studies that one way or another are designed from the start to back the leftists on climate change. Note:

    Question to Dr. Richard Lindzen: Is it possible for a young person today for someone to get tenure in one of these institutions (universities) if they disagree with global warming alarmism?

    Dr. Richard Lindzen: … NOT OPENLY.. and in your grant applications you can’t say ‘I want to check whether global warming is real or not’ [laughs]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so3ELA7NpVw%5D
    ~
    Everyone is checking the box to say “my study will show that global warming is real and that our proposed legislation [or the Paris Accord] will save the day.” Nope. The Paris Accord would be a worldwide disaster. Full implementation of the Paris Treaty is now estimated to cost $50 trillion to $100 trillion by 2030 – $6,667- $13,333 per human being. Nearly two-thirds of humanity’s cumulative savings over history. And it will not affect climate at all. And imagine the costs to follow 2030. It only gets worse and worse from there.

    • Eric, Please provide links to the sources of those numbers ($50 trillion – $100 trillion by 2030, $6.667-$13,333 per human being = 2/3 humanity’s cumulative savings to date). Thanks.

  4. Fish models coupled to climate models.

    But are they really saying that the temperature increase of 1.5 °C will be beneficial?

    • Thats what this (WUWT) article appears to say. Since the 1.5C warming hasn’t actually happened yet, then this implies that global warming must be net good for fish stocks.

      Of course we all know that they don’t really know at all what will happen, and are just making wild guesses codified by computer programs. They even nearly say as much:

      “Due to the migration of fish towards cooler waters, climate change would also cause more species turnover, altering the composition of species within the stocks. This would have impacts on fishers and make fisheries management more difficult.”

      In other words ‘we don’t know, and it’s going to get harder to know’. Global warmers got something right at last.

    • unfortunately the models used by fisheries scientists appear to be of similar type to those used by climate science as evidenced by those carrying out stock assessments in european waters of commercially important fish stocks like mackerel and cod . physical survey work is a dying art, the current restrictions on european bass landing by commercials and recreational anglers alike is based upon one single survey in the solent that was taken in the spring after a winter of above average storminess for the area.

      with the amo past the peak of the warming cycle and increasing periods of negative north atlantic oscillation stocks of whitefish such as cod and haddock are already seeing big upticks in recruitment . the near future looks good for north east atlantic fish stocks.

      as already mentioned there will be no extinction of tropical species due to the low fluctuation of water temps in the region and for the northern hemisphere we should see a contraction of stocks of species like mackerel and european sea bass in a southerly direction as the atlantic cools, so the potential increase in opportunities they talk of has already occurred with the icelanders and faroese harvesting the mackerel stock that ventured further north (through expansion , the southern extent of mackerel remained the same, so the biomass increased overall )during the warm phase of the amo.

      • There was a TV series in the UK called Trawlermen. This included filming the catches and every time you could see cod in the nets, unless they were deeper set nets. One Irishman even stood up and moaned to the cameras while holding up a rather nice specimen that “they say there are no code in the north sea”. The Icelandic people did get a bit greedy with the mackerel fishing and I do not think the full consequences of that one have come home to roost especially as it was to the detriment of Norway and not the Spanish/Portuguese boats that proliferate the northern Atlantic/North Sea.

      • Fisheries models are often worse, less computer capacity, error bars huge, natural cycles often ignored, and politicized decades before climate. Went to an American Fisheries Society meeting in Nova Scotia, 1994, best as I recall, crisis time due to overfishing, couple of papers, mostly ignored, trying to understand the amo, but don’t think that term was used. There are some trying to understand a difficult problem. I have a late 1940s symposium debating same stuff.

        “There has as yet not been a single instance when correlative studies have allowed us to unequivocally separate the effects of fishing and environmental change during a severe stock decline. There is no doubt that the disastrous collapse of the cod fishery in eastern Canada was due to overfishing, but…” Walters and Martell, Fisheries Ecology and Management, 2004.

        Figure that one out!

  5. So we need to prevent the Earth from heating up past 1.5 C from current temperatures. But nobody has yet produced hard & fast evidence that the Earth is actually warming today. So if we prevent something that hasn’t been happening to date, we will prevent some hypothetical harm that isn’t even proven.

    And at what cost ? The proposals all cost a planet-bankrupting amount, while keeping billions of people in grinding poverty. With no guarantee of success even.

  6. “For every metric ton of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, the maximum catch potential decreases by a significant amount.” Proof positive that correlation proves causation!!!!!

  7. “If one of the largest CO2 emitting countries gets out of the Paris Agreement, ..

    Another name that can’t appear in print.
    Should we tell her the agreement is only an agreement to produce more paper to say we agree to maybe do something in the future, or maybe not. All of this travel, paper, and agreeing will produce more CO₂ but will not influence the temperature.

    May she have a Merry Christmas anyway.
    And everyone else too.

  8. Holy mackerel, I’d say there’s something fishy with their models. Someone must have gotten a whale of a grant to produce that nonsense.

  9. Well that is good news. So how much more do we get if we only get 1 C or warming? You know the “likely” number not the hallucinated one. Inquiring minds want to know :)

  10. Well Australia (thanks to Gillard’s policies) get most of our fish from Thailand now. Seems air being 7C warmer doesn’t particularly bother things that live under water. Indeed, from brief observations in Thailand there seem to be far MORE fish in warm water.

    • What did they used to do better…Oil for Food?
      I say move the UN to the Middle East.
      imo
      The UN should be homed in the world’s hotspots.
      Put the UN in Iran or Israel.
      Certainly not in New York City.

      Let them earn world wide respect.

      • Africa is the continent where much of the UN’s attention should be focused in order to promote development and suppress war and genocide. The UN should be moved to Nigeria, and the new UN head quarters should be built near the place where Nigeria, Niger, and Chad meet, which is a very central location in Africa. I read in the newspaper this morning that the Nigerian government says that it has destroyed the ISIS affiliate, Boko Haram.

        When the move is complete, the US should send Samantha Power there on a one way ticket.

  11. Two unsupported assumptions:

    1) “Changes in ocean conditions that affect fishing catch potential, such as temperature and oxygen concentration, are strongly related to atmospheric warming and therefore also carbon emissions,” says author Thomas Frölicher, Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program Principal Investigator and Senior Scientist at ETH Zürich.”

    2) ““The trend we have projected is already happening. It’s a train that has left the station and is going faster and faster,” says author Gabriel Reygondeau, Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program Senior Fellow at UBC.”

    There is no evidence carbon emissions are causing the atmosphere to warm, and there is no evidence that any warming trend is happening now or has left any station, going faster and faster. This is pure speculation, as is the study. If “X”, then “Y”. Well, the “X” has not been established.

  12. I thought we expected the poles to warm and the tropical regions not to?
    3 million tonnes divided by the world’s population is about one pound of fish per head,
    which isn’t a huge amount, compared with the BIG fishing worry, which is overfishing
    and the habitat damage done by some kinds of trawling.
    This is one of the ways in which CAGW is dangerous, by distracting us from real and
    urgent problems.

  13. “The authors hope these results will provide further incentives for countries and the private sector to substantially increase their commitments and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because of the added benefits to fisheries.”

    Because people world-wide losing everything, all ice on earth melting, oceans rising until they boil away and all life on earth dying due to climate change isn’t quite enough.
    We’re hoping that us telling you that you could lose 3 million tonnes of fish it will do the trick.

    Is that it?
    Boy, these guys are good. That should do it for me.

  14. This study is complete BS.

    Looking at ancient ocean carbonic acid levels, all ocean life THRIVES at higher CO2 levels.

    The oceans are STARVED of CO2…

    BTW, I live in Japan and have a running feud with the Japanese EPA, which allows very fine sieve net fishing (2mm mesh) to harvest HUGE quantities of baby sardines in Japanese waters (especially in the Sagami Bay Area) for a Japanese delicacy called Shirasu Don (dried baby sardines served over rice).

    This insane fine-sieve net fishing has caused the sardine population to decline 90% over the past 15 years in the Sagami Bay, which has destroyed the ocean habitat and the commercial and sport fishing industries.

    I’ve called the EPA many times to complain about the deplorable practice (illegal in all sane countries), and the Japanese EPA always responds by repeating the propaganda that the decline of the fish population is due to…..wait for it…… Global Warming… not fine-sieve net fishing…. AAAAHH!!!

    • It doesn’t sound like reason is going to make the difference in any argument with your EPA. Political pressure is probably the only thing that will work.

      • There is very little sanity in cronism…

        The Fishing lobby is very strong in Japan and they’ve been successful in keeping fine-mesh net fishing going for 30 years…

        The Fishing industry is cutting their own throats in demanding shirasu fishing to continue…

        A depressing case study of the tragedy of the commons…..

      • Yes.. CAGW has prevented REAL solutions to REAL environmental issues from being addressed..

        $trillions will eventually be wasted on this CAGW sca-m…

        The world has gone temporarily insane…

    • No it isn’t. CO2 warms the atmosphere, which warms the oceans. The sun has nothing to do with it. That is the settled science.

  15. I thought the Arctic was meant to warm faster than the tropics, so if global average rise is 1.5 deg C it will be smaller in the tropics and larger in the Arctic. Aren’t we lucky that differential warming just happens to be optimum for fish across the globe upto 1.5 deg C average. How long will we have to wait for water termperatures to catchup with air temperature rise? I can’t wait.

    • Paul Homewood, who produces his own excellent web site:

      Fallacy one:
      To begin with, their falsehoods start with the alleged Paris Accord; which under the best proposed achievement would prevent a tiny fraction of a degree Fahrenheit; conflating the Paris Accord with only a 1.5°C is a fallacious quest.

      Fallacy two:
      Then the authors proceed to imply water bodies and waterways are rising in temperature from “global warming” and CO2 emissions.

      Fallacy three:
      The authors begin to make specious assumptions from water temperature increases that are not in Earth’s future out past several millennia, at worst.

      Fallacy four:
      Throughout the article the authors use vague emotional claims of disasters stemming from their depiction of the Paris Accord failing.
      Which means they fail to accept the Paris Accord is a failure already.

      Silly twits, every one. I hope they’re beholden to American funding: May their grantors seriously review the usage of grant funds against the lack of achievement for those funds.

  16. What the focus should be on : excessive overfishing in our seas which is directly leading to lower fish stocks

    What the focus is on : a particle that is good for plant life and has a small effect on temperature

  17. Okay this is really hard to visualize.

    First, we have gotten 0.3C since 1945. When they speak of 1.5C they are of course talking about since 1770 of which a large portion was not co2 related warming. So when they say 1.5C they are talking about roughly another 0.4C depending on how much you think happened over that period. I’m guessing they’re not saying we’re going to lose 3mm tonnes from the next 0.4C?

    They talk about 3.5C which means another 2.4C which since 1770 we’ve gotten maybe 1C and since 1945 (70 years ) 0.3C. To get to 3.5C would be impossible just using co2. In fact given output likely we might see 0.3C more and never even reach 1.5C.

    It’s pointless to talk of 3.5C since that is 10 times the gain we’ve seen in 70 years and co2 impact fe decreasss with co2 accumulation we would needs 1000 years of massively increased carbon usage to get that much increase.

    This is a red herring. They project some ridiculous number and some theoretical almost certainly not true impact. Then in 50 years they will say wow we never reached 4000ppm co2 level so we averted the disaster that never had any chance of happening. Good thing we spent 40 trlllion dollars to avert something that was never going to happen.

  18. That wonderful all purpose word COULD! It goes with salad, fish, or Polar Bear. Add COULD to any statement and you’re home free. If you statement proves wrong you only said could and its their fault for believing. If it proves right (no matter how short the period) you are a prophet.

  19. They are still talking about the fictitious number 1.5. Thanks to the Canadian “expert” who made the motion in Paris ti lower it. They cannot measure the amount caused by humans and they cannot limit it to 1.5 or any other number they dream of. In addition that whole project was MODELING which again is pie in the sky.

  20. “Disturbing research about the use of “narratives” in climate science papers”

    Perhaps this study fits the above recent WUWT post.

    Merry Christmas all.

  21. The study could only be true if there are more fish in cold water oceans than in warm water oceans. I would think that would not be the case (haven’t researched this yet, though). Also, if there are more plankton, etc. in warm water, the authors of the study must not believe in evolution to think that animals would not take advantage of a greater food supply. They must be SCIENCE DENIERS!

    • OK, I take back my post. Seems fish do better in colder water because there is more flow from the colder to warmer regions of the ocean, so the plankton does better with the movement in the water. So, more fish.

  22. Less arctic ice means greater evaporation netting more latent heat convection to the LCL and consequent increase in albedo..

    Climate is a critically damped proportional-integral-derivative control system with multiple negative feedback mechanism. To assume positive feedback is total ignorance of observation.

  23. The temperature in Lagos, Nigeria, which is 4 deg from the equator, was 28-31C when I was there in the mid 1960s, again the same in 1997(?) and the same now. Climate science used to preach that the tropics didn’t change but the temperate and polar regions did. I’m afraid post normal millenniums are pushing out the obfuscatory narrative handwaving emotive stuff in line with guidelines for getting away from contentious fact – based stuff.

  24. And consider that for all the “warming” it is said we have experienced over the last few decades, the maximum temperature in 2016 is still not as hot as it was in the 1930’s, when CO2 levels were much lower.

    The alarmists want to act like we have had unusual warming but what we have had is, starting in 1910 to 1940, we had warming equal to today’s warming, and then from 1940 to 1970’s we had cooling, and from 1979 (the satellite era) to today we have had the same amount of warming as we had from 1910-1940.

    Now, here we are with the temperatures going down, not up. Which would make sense if we are coming off a huge El Nino spike and starting into another cooling phase like happened in 1940.

    All natural, baby!

    Where’s the temperature going from here? The alarmists say up. The skeptics say we don’t know, but there is no reason to assume that they will continue up rather than down, based on past history. As always, time will tell.

  25. Another rent seeking faux study. These authors sound much more like used car salesmen or televangelists than scientists. Why is that climate hypesters so predictably ignore the reality of over use of a resource- like over fishing in this case- and historical fluctuations in the resource to sell their insanely over stated risks and rewards? They think those supporting their ideas are really stupid.

  26. Theoretical study?
    Worked in a giant LNG port/plant for a few years. They produce a huge amount of waste heat, which is dumped in the giant harbour. The harbour was heated by a couple of degrees, and to a lesser extent for kilometers outside the harbour mouth. After 20 years, this had caused the coral reefs to boom, and the fish to increase in number and grow bigger.
    So after 20 years commercial fishermen migrated in, in there thousands, and fished the region out, and the foreign Green NGO’s blamed the the gas plant, but that’s another nasty story with consequences for the locals that lead me to never trust Watermellons.
    The study is wrong.

  27. I’ve heard of fishing in a bucket.
    But fishing in a broken computer? That’s a new one. I suppose they catch virtual fish.
    Tropical waters are teeming with fish.
    I suggest that they go snorkeling next time they have a climate boondoggle conference in the Caribbean.

  28. Very Dodgy….when do they expect that the water below 6 meters, [ sea surface temps, but sea water temps] where nearly all fish stocks live, will increase in temperature enough to make a difference to the fish? At 0.004 degrees every 10 years, it might take some time.

  29. You gotta look at the study — they claim that the sea water temperature at the ocean bottom will change by + 0.5 degrees C! Ridiculous.

  30. How much has natural variability altered the oceans temperature over the last 10,000 years ? Hit the replay button on that and you have a better chance of being right than some climate model which can’t even accurately calculate the overwhelming effect of natural variability for 20 years .
    Climate models have proven one thing … they grossly over estimate with a consistent warming bias .

    Warm waters seem to be far more heavily populated by fish than cold waters, same as human population patterns . Go global warming !

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