Achieving Paris climate target could net additional billions in fisheries revenue

The degree of precision of these “projections” makes my jaw drop to the floor~ctm

Public Release: 27-Feb-2019

University of British Columbia


Two women working at local fish market in Bagan Myanmar Credit BANITA tour / Pixabay

Achieving the Paris Agreement global warming target could protect millions of tonnes in annual worldwide fisheries catch, as well as billions of dollars of annual revenues for fishers, workers’ income and household seafood expenditures, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

The study, released today in Science Advances, compared the ecosystem and economic impacts of the Paris Agreement warming scenario of 1.5 degrees Celsius to the current “business as usual” 3.5 C warming scenario. The researchers concluded that achieving the Paris Agreement would result in benefits for 75 per cent of maritime countries, with the largest gains being made in developing countries.

“Achieving the Agreement’s target could increase global fishers’ revenues by $4.6 billion annually, seafood workers’ income by $3.7 billion, and reduce household seafood expenditures by $5.4 billion,” said Rashid Sumaila, lead author of the study and professor and director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit and the OceanCanada Partnership at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. “The largest gains will occur in developing country waters, such as Kiribati, the Maldives and Indonesia, which are at greatest risks due to warming temperatures and rely the most on fish for food security, incomes and employment.”

The study also found that under the Paris Agreement scenario, the total mass, or biomass, of the top revenue generating fish species would increase globally by 6.5 per cent, with an average increase of 8.4 per cent in the waters of developing countries and a marginal decrease of 0.4 per cent in the waters of developed countries.

“Larger fish biomass and higher ocean productivity means higher catch potential, so with the exception of Europe, all continents will benefit from the Paris Agreement,” said Travis Tai, co-author of the study and PhD candidate in the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. “Countries in places like northern Europe, on the other hand, stand to gain more fish as they move towards the poles in search of colder waters under global warming. They will gain less if we limit warming, but in many cases, the losses are buffered by increases in fish prices.”

For example, Russia is projected to see reduced catches by 25 per cent, led by lower biomass of pollock and cod under the 1.5 C warming target relative to 3.5 C.

“However, a projected 19 per cent increase in fish prices, known as ‘price effect,’ should result in a negligible overall loss of less than two per cent in fishers’ revenues in Russia,” said William Cheung, co-author and associate professor in the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries’ Changing Oceans Research Unit and science director for the Nippon Foundation – UBC Nereus Program. “Conversely, for the U.S., fishing revenues are expected to decrease by eight per cent due to price effects but will be offset by a 21 per cent increase in catch potential.”

The marine fisheries sector supports approximately 260 million full and part-time jobs worldwide, many of these in large developing countries, and seafood products remain a critical export commodity for many developing countries.

“A steady supply of fish is essential to support these jobs, food sovereignty, and human well-being,” said Sumaila. “Adapting to existing climate change effects and implementing the Paris Agreement is crucial for the future of the planet’s ocean fisheries, while facing the growing challenges of supporting healthy and peaceful societies into the future.”



55 thoughts on “Achieving Paris climate target could net additional billions in fisheries revenue

    • I agree Kevin.

      They say there will be more fish to catch, which might be true.

      They also say the fishermen will earn more income, presumably because they catch more fish.

      At the same time, they also claim that expenditure on seafood will go down.

      How can that be?

      • And what about the “fishers and workers” who are unwilling to work you may ask? Let me provide a lesson on the new economics of the Green Leap Forward.

        In the socialist command economy, there is no connection between revenues and expenditures (just like governments everywhere). So the planners can plan to pay whatever they want to the fishermen and fishmongers, regardless of whether they are efficient, are union workers pretending to work, or flat out refuse to work.

        On the other side of the house, the planners can charge any price for fish without regard to supply or demand, because fairness.

        Occasionally there may be shortages caused not by a mismatch of supply and demand, but by counterrevolutionary elements in society who secretly work to undermine the glories of socialism.

        Hope that helps clear it up for you.

        • Rich You didn’t stress enough how the socialists plan to pay a living wage to the unwilling to work segment above.

          Isn’t commerical fishing one of the deadliest jobs? And what percentage of people will continue to be workers in the dead fish distribution business when they can get paid to sit home and play video games?

          The problem with shortages is they become more and more frequent and longer because the supply chain broke down while the demand for fish and chip delivery goes up.

          • Bill
            You are a dangerous intellectual capitalist roader. The Green Leap Forward will prevent any such imperfections caused by lingering bourgeois attitudes and the kulak class. Trust in our dear leader.

      • Supply – demand just doesn’t apply in the Green world. At least on paper and in computer models. There are ways to slash prices but it will result in lots more consumption. There is one way to slash prices and consumption — extend the Dems infantcide program to include all age groups.

      • Which is a good illustration of how we can hamstring ourselves all day, but as long as the resource is there, someone else will exploit it.

  1. Very fishy, “global warming” of the air is only slightly transmitted to the oceans due to the massively higher heat capacity of water relative to air.

    Despite all those Zetta Joules, the temperature increase is in the thousandths or hundredths of a degree.

    • As a scientist I’m surprised you don’t know that cod are calibrated to detect a 0.001 degree fluctuation whereas spreadsheet mackerels have been known to calculate as many as ten decimal places.

      Fish need a perfect water temperature at all times. It has nothing to do with food supplies or predation. They will migrate 10,000 km to achieve the perfect chill. It’s a mystery what drives them. Send more research dollars!

  2. Notice how these kinds of studies all use the word “projected”. The use of that word might be okay if real data was used, but in all these studies, they are only playing video games on super computers.

    On a side note

    Satellites say that over land, midnight warms faster than noon by 0.72 C/ century in lower tropo and by 0.31 C/century in mid tropo. 11:30pm warms faster than at 9:30am by 1.111 C/century for lower tropo. If you want to avoid global warming go out only at 9:30 am. What a farce!

  3. Typical validity for aviation weather forecasts is 17 hours (24h – production delay).
    Serious business established by the most advanced government/state offices. Not the typical “tomorrow it will rain” TV affair.

    And all of a sudden they can for sure know the consequences of weather in decades ? Don’t get it, specifically when they define climate as an integral of weather.

    • Let me see if I can ‘splain it to you:
      They are just making it up, completely and 100%.

      Yup, I think that summarizes these findings succinctly.

  4. “Countries in places like northern Europe, on the other hand, stand to gain more fish as they move towards the poles in search of colder waters under global warming. They will gain less if we limit warming, but in many cases, the losses are buffered by increases in fish prices.”
    What kind of education produced this train of thinking? Large scale fishing takes place where ever there are fish irrespective of where a particular fishing fleet is based. Long distance fishing has been around from at least the 1400s when Europeans started fishing the Grand Banks. Antarctica is extensively fished especially by countries from the opposite hemisphere. Fish moving up or down is inconsequential for modern fishing fleets in international waters. What matters most is how many fish are taken in relation to how fast stocks can recover and removal of unnecessary obstacles to the health of fish stocks such as pollution and plastic. The Paris Agreement is a distraction.

    • If these political scientists pretending to be climate scientists and economists really believed in the crap they were peddling they would be advocating for iron fertilisation of the oceans, at least small trials to gauge the carbon sequestration and the short/long term effects on the eco-system.

    • I was looking at this video of a presentation by Thomas P.M. Barnett yesterday while researching his past and current involvements. Was he telling the truth about sourcing food? If not, what is his real agenda?

      • Interesting but he also comes out with the view that global warming means increasing droughts. When the Sahara was green and wet some 5000 years ago the world was warmer. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture as a opposed to a colder world.

  5. I think they conveniently forgot to mention that fishing revenues, incomes, and catches will sink to the bottom of the sea if fuel is green-taxed to death, or the fishermen have to go back to using sails.

    • You need to review my primer on the new economics of the Green Leap Forward (see above). The is no relationship between revenues and costs or costs and prices.

  6. More CO2 = more biomass = more fish.

    These “ GIGO computers “ really do produce some fascinating fairytales.

    • Me thinks this to be a 2-dimentional study. There are always multiple variables (e.g. CO2, etc.) that are either ignored or assumed to be zero for the purposes of the research.

    • Alasdair, you are absolutely right. We have already seen the increase in plankton which is at the bottom of the food chain and this will continue to increase and drive up fish populations.

      The actual increase in water temperature will be too small to have any real influence. The AMO change over the next 30 years will be larger than the projected rise in temperature for the N Atlantic.

  7. Again as in so many studies and a total lack of real data. If for example the sea might warm a fraction, and if the fishes found this increase to be a bit uncomfortable, then just like the birds do, the fishes would simply move to cooler conditions. Problem solved.

    The over all problem with fishing, just as it is on land, is that the worlds population is still increasing, thus more hunger then more fishing. Simple really and of course CO2 has nothing to do with it.


  8. Socialists understand supply and demand. The producers supply all the money that the socialists demand to be given to the non producers.

  9. The author goes off the rails when he ties his work to a specific plan. Then again that’s why he wrote it to begin with.

  10. Make an unjustified and unprovable assumption with little, if any, economic consequences (positive or negative, as required), and then project it continuing many many decades into the future and….hey presto!…the magic of compound interest converts it into a figure large enough to write a headline with.

  11. I’ve worked with the authors of this paper. They are great people. But they are wrong on this conclusion. It is unfortunate that they have not considered the faultiness of model predictions, especially for the last 18 years. And the last time I checked, both India and China showed no desire whatsoever to reduce coal consumption.
    Former Research Student at Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia

  12. The “study” uses the word “could” a lot. These climate projections always use the words could, might, may, so they never really say anything.

  13. I remember in elementary school biology, we studied something called the food web in nature. The ultimate conclusion I drew from it was that it all depended on plant production. More edible plants meant more production all the way through the web.

    In high school, I learned about CO2 enrichment for greenhouses to increase production by large percentages.

    Now, my question these many years later is: Why wouldn’t more CO2 in the oceans increase photosynthetic plankton production and rev up the whole food web making the top predators (the ones we eat) more plentiful?

  14. If you look at Fig 1 you see a bunch of straight line projections. Pessimistic to the core.

    “The scientific consensus predicts that the potential catch will decrease in the tropics (low per capita emissions) and increase in higher-latitude economically developed regions (high per capita emissions) (1, 5)…….Hence, we chose MSY as the aspirational baseline reference given that it is widely recognized in the marine governance and scientific community (for example, its presence as a goal in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). We do, however, acknowledge that fisheries management is crucial to the achievement of potential benefits under any climate scenario and that, since actual fisheries management performance is typically far from ideal, actual realized gains are likely to be less than we estimate in this contribution.”

    They forgot that fisheries are dependent on nutrients, good correlation with amount of nitrogen, temperature not so much. Temperatures change, species change, still gobble, gobble. In MSY, S stands for sustainabile. Problems with fisheries models predate climate models before they became part of climate models.

    • Wow …. Just …. Wow! Who knew that human nature could upset all the idealized plans/projections/wishes of the ‘sustainable’ and SJW crowds? When will the ‘experts’ have the humility to say “we don’t actually know?” The authors of this study are actually taking a baby step in that direction.

      Even if their ‘projections’ were theoretically spot-on, the result would vary wildly from their imagined future.

  15. The comments by British Columbia professionals are not including the Premier of BC Gordon Campbell edited a public inquiry. That inquiry was specific to forest fires being fought blind and that building development was grossly exceeding design temperatures.

    Our work for BC Forestry, hydrologists, biologists identifying thermal barriers for spawning fish. Biologists spoke of water heating and stream temperatures that will be lethal to fish. Solar exposed building in Canada and 26 states showed building development generating atmospheric heat close to boiling temperature, Once the heat is generated, it is here to mix.

    Meeting GHG emissions while super heating the atmosphere will not have savings and what lives in extreme heat? Buildings and development are urban heat generators before they are urban heat islands. Billions in energy waste is used responding to symptoms. Canada and previous Prime Ministers did not report it to UN members undermining the United Nations and objectives. Here are 2 time-lapsed infrared videos outside and inside buildings. This building like others was signed off as compliant with Building Code.

    • Sorry, professor. However, the warming we can expect from climate change (1-2C) is dwarfed by normal temperature variation on every timescale, from annual to even hourly. The idea that these slight temperatures change will cause fish not to spawn is just not believable. If they were so sensitive, then no spawning would be possible ever.

      Also, you seem to have mashed several posts together. Are you having trouble with the website?

  16. The presumption being that ‘hitting the target’ means regulating the climate and producing the result they want.

    Funny how they always skip past debating that base presumption.
    Perhaps because their entire justification collapses therein?

  17. Once again they are assuming that nature can’t adapt to any changes, and that man can’t adapt to any changes in nature.

  18. Uhhhhh . . . the Paris Agreement refers to global average ATMOSPHERIC temperature change (as an aside, without clearly defining how to obtain the “average” at any given time).

    The metabolic activity of fish, and I infer that includes reproduction rates, depends to first order on the variation of WATER temperature compared to the natural-selection established optimum temperatures for both their biology and the biologies of their various food sources.

    So, I’m just wondering what scientifically-vetted equation or algorithm was used by the authors of the study presented in “Science Advances” to convert a predicted amount of air temperature change to a predicted amount of near-surface ocean water temperature change, especially given the tremendous thermal inertia of the upper, say, 100 meters of the world’s oceans compared to the total thermal inertia of the world’s atmosphere?

    My question in the above paragraph is, of course, rhetorical . . . the answer is obvious at a 99% confidence level.

  19. The increase in atmospheric CO2 has resulted in a “greening” of the planet. Wouldn’t it also increase phytoplankton growth, the base of the food chain for all marine life?

  20. There are so many things wrong with this ‘study’ I almost don’t know where to begin.

    1. So, this ‘study’ compared “the Paris Agreement warming scenario of 1.5 degrees Celsius to the current “business as usual” 3.5 C warming scenario”. How can anyone with knowledge of the Paris Accord Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and ongoing construction efforts in China and India think that the 1.5 C scenario is likely? The Paris Accord lets China and India do essentially whatever they want – and apparently what they want is to build lots of fossil fuel-burning electrical power generation plants. All by themselves, China and India will likely drive CO2 emissions beyond the 1.5 C scenario levels.

    2. Was there a statement in there somewhere explicitly comparing the yields of the 1.5 C or 3.5 C scenarios to today’s yields? I could not find a table with data along the lines of “1.5 C yields are __ % more or less than current yields.” All yield comparison values seem to be “(1.5 C – current) – (3.5 C – current).” These differences are for some reason described as “increases” or “decreases” relative to the 3.5 C projections but never compared to current yields. It would be useful to see the differences between current yields and the projections. The cynic in me suspects the authors did not want to risk censure by listing a positive change in yields from any level of warming (e.g., some warming may be good).

    3. When did comparing projections from multiple models, based on assumptions and the output of multiple Global Climate Models (GCMs) – each with their own set of assumptions – become science? This ‘study’ used the projections of GCMs which have been shown to be unreliable as the input to three different types of models (supply-demand, economic impact, and climate-marine ecosystem). The phrase “turtles all the way down” comes to mind.

    4. The body of the paper uses the word ‘could’ 10 times and the word ‘model’ an astounding 40 times. This is ‘science’? Why didn’t the authors include any historical data comparing actual yields, revenues, etc.? These data are readily available.

    5. Not to nit-pick but what is the point of Figure S2? The six plots show perfectly linear relationships between Fishers’ Revenue (FR), Seafood Workers’ Income (SWI), and Household Seafood Expenditures (HSE) (dependent variable) and price (independent variable). All the table shows is that the models the authors used contain linear relationships. While it has been 21 years since I earned an MBA, I don’t recall very many linear relationships between price and other economic variables. Seems simplistic.

  21. Say WHAT?????!!!! Having been a marine fisheries biologists for 30+ years, working at both the local, national and international management levels the so called “projections” in this article are hogwash found in fantasy land at the Paris Disney World. It is bad enough that they use bizarre computer models to predict future global temperatures but to say that meeting Paris Agreement goals, supposedly stabilizing atmospheric temperature, will actually increase fisheries production world-wide is beyond ludicrous. Of course if we eliminate internal combustion engines and fishermen are again limited to sail, rowing and hook and line (line made of linen) thereby reducing effective fishing mortality marine fish populations should increase. Everyone should read Captain Courageous.

    I am convinced that we do have a new mental illnesses, besides Trump Derangement Syndrome, we now have CAGW Derangement Syndrome.

    • Minor point against the general lack of rigor in the ‘study’; however, I could not find any explicit statement that production would increase compared to current levels. All statements of increase or decrease are based on a comparison of two different projections (1.5 C & 3.5 C).

      Nor was any attempt made to compare historical yields at different ‘global temperatures’ despite such yield data being readily available. (Air quotes in this case intended to denote that the term is essentially undefinable.)

      Sophistry – I mean post-normal science – at it’s worst.

    • No one has shown me to date how the oceans are catastrophically warming due to greenhouse gases. What papers I have read seem to ignore or fail to explain to the reader just how huge the oceans environment is, especially compared to land. Most commercial marine fin fish are found over a relatively large expanses of ocean. Their ranges have always moved and adapted to changing current patterns driving by temperature and salinity. I doubt seriously that species like sablefish (aka black cod) have been dramatically impacted except by changes in PDO phases.

      Prior to the collapse of the Northern Cod stock fishery lobbyists were then claiming global warming was impacting the stock. For decades they fought any reasonable regulation and argued that overfishing was not the problem. American Fishery Society meeting in the 1990s in Halifax, N.S. reviewed not just the scientific mistakes made but also the political mistakes made.

      Overfishing does have a far greater impact on most of the commercial stocks than climate change.

Comments are closed.