Fish Tale Part Deux: “Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse”

Guest sequel by David Middleton

This is sort of a sequel to Eric Worrall’s post from yesterday.

From the American Association for the Advancement of Science of America…

Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse

By Erik StokstadFeb. 28, 2019 , 2:00 PM

Marine fish around the world are already feeling the effects of climate change—and some are reeling, according to the first large analysis of recent trends. Rising sea temperatures have reduced the productivity of some fisheries by 15% to 35% over 8 decades, although in other places fish are thriving because warming waters are becoming more suitable. The net effect is that the world’s oceans can’t yield as much sustainable seafood as before, a situation that is likely to worsen as global warming accelerates in the oceans.

A silver lining is that the research suggests well-managed fisheries are more resilient in the face of rising temperature …


Science! As in “she blinded me with.”

Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse… NOT!!!

60 thoughts on “Fish Tale Part Deux: “Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse”

    • Never seen a fish “reeling” , sound pretty bad.

      a situation that is likely to worsen as global warming accelerates in the oceans.

      This is obviously politically motivated BS with lines like that being a dead give away. Taking the future projection of failed climate models as though it has the certainly of something which has already happened.

      • Surely in Alice in Wonderland, …

        ‘I’ve been to a day-school, too,’ said Alice; ‘you needn’t be so proud as all that.’
        ‘With extras?’ asked the Mock Turtle a little anxiously.
        ‘Yes,’ said Alice, ‘we learned French and music.’
        ‘And washing?’ said the Mock Turtle.
        ‘Certainly not!’ said Alice indignantly.
        ‘Ah! then yours wasn’t a really good school,’ said the Mock Turtle in a tone of great relief. ‘Now at ours they had at the end of the bill, “French, music, and washing — extra.”‘
        ‘You couldn’t have wanted it much,’ said Alice; ‘living at the bottom of the sea.’
        ‘I couldn’t afford to learn it.’ said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. ‘I only took the regular course.’
        ‘What was that?’ inquired Alice.
        Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied; ‘and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’
        ‘I never heard of “Uglification,” Alice ventured to say. ‘What is it?’
        The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. ‘What! Never heard of uglifying!’ it exclaimed. ‘You know what to beautify is, I suppose?’
        ‘Yes,’ said Alice doubtfully: ‘it means — to — make — anything — prettier.’
        ‘Well, then,’ the Gryphon went on, ‘if you don’t know what to uglify is, you are a simpleton.’

        Alice did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions about it, so she turned to the Mock Turtle, and said ‘What else had you to learn?’
        ‘Well, there was Mystery,’ the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers, ‘ — Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography: then Drawling — the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: he taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.’
        ‘What was that like?’ said Alice.
        ‘Well, I can’t show it you myself,’ the Mock Turtle said: ‘I’m too stiff. And the Gryphon never learnt it.’
        ‘Hadn’t time,’ said the Gryphon: ‘I went to the Classics master, though. He was an old crab, HE was.’
        ‘I never went to him,’ the Mock Turtle said with a sigh: ‘he taught Laughing and Grief, they used to say.’
        ‘So he did, so he did,’ said the Gryphon, sighing in his turn; and both creatures hid their faces in their paws.
        ‘And how many hours a day did you do lessons?’ said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
        ‘Ten hours the first day,’ said the Mock Turtle: ‘nine the next, and so on.’
        ‘What a curious plan!’ exclaimed Alice.
        ‘That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon remarked: ‘because they lessen from day to day.’

        Somehow re-reading all that, it is hard to imagine that is is in fact a parody. Like1984, it seems to be less a parody and more a manual for modern education.

        • All that changed is, as the Mad Hatter at the party said, – Fresh Cups!
          There is even a reference to global warming :
          The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
          To talk of many things:
          Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
          Of cabbages — and kings —
          And why the sea is boiling hot —
          And whether pigs have wings.’

          Just imagine what the green teens will do when they see they star in that poem.

    • Rising sea temperatures have reduced the productivity of some fisheries by 15% to 35% over 8 decades

      So “some fisheries” have declined over the last 80y ? I’m sure that they have checked that no other changes apart from an barely measurable increase in temperature have occurred.

      Pollution, over-fishing …. ???

      • Since the Argo buoy system shows clean cooling since 20004, the above is seriously flawed. They assume warming and simply analyze the fish data.

        Colder water means slower phytoplankton growth and less fish. On the other hand, the metabolism of poi kilo therms slows down with cooling, so what they do eat goes less to metabolic cost and more to growth. That is why the best fisheries are in the colder waters—cooler means larger fish.

        I am sure they think themselves some kind of marine biologist, but they are amateurs.

      • when I was a wee lad, living by the ocean in northern New England, Russian factory ships would come by (this was before the 200 mile limit) and actually scrape the bottom clean and scoop up everything they could, process it and sell it or bring it home (usually sell it). the destruction of the fishing habitat that they did is still being felt today. didn’t need any ocean warming to destroy the fishing grounds. wiped out huge areas of cod. this was the fifties and early sixties.

  1. With computer models any in silico virtual reality can be created and spoon-fed as “truth” like pablum to the ignorant masses who slurp it up, as long as it has the veneer of “science” dutifully applied.

    The Left realized this. That is why they consciously began to make efforts 25 years ago to insert high level operatives in all the science societies in order to change the message with a bent on propaganda. to push ideas favorable to more government control and taxes.
    Look no further than Marcia McNutt. She is a prime example of how the Left did that to push the climate change agenda. The Obama Team (not noted for its integrity on any issue which they wanted to advance), plucked Dr McNutt out of Monterey Bay Aquarium obscurity and began grooming her obvious leftist leanings for much greater ideological ends. And she was driven by ambition enough to throw any past scientific method pretenses to the wind. The rest is history. Science Mag in now crap science on any thing climate related. And she was being groomed to be Hillary’s White House OSTP Science Advisor to the President as well. Oooppps. So many sweet liberal tears on the night Hillary was defeated.

    • I knew it! As ex-Silico vastly improved in performance there is uncanny correlation with warming.
      Moore’s law is the reason.

      Using the very same ex-Silico the auto and aero industries have vastly improved aero performance.
      Something just does not add up.

      • What does not add up is the criteria that defines quality.

        In engineering, that is a tangible measurable improvement in cost/earnings ratio or cost safety.

        In Politics is is a measurable improvement in plausibility:fact ratio. The ideal political solution is a narrative that is utterly plausible, but totally fact free.

        I.e. “Eating fat, makes you fat”. Whereas in the main its sugars and starches and alcohols that make you fat…

        Climate change is marvelous. With enough people employed to make it plausible, its fact-free content is completely irrelevant.

    • bbbbut …. facts aren’t FAIR! You cheated!

      Only feelings count. If I FEEL that fishies are “reeling”, and use appropriately chosen adjectives and adverbs to describe the poor dears, then they must certainly be reeling.

  2. ” Boats chasing Atlantic cod in the Irish Sea face a particularly grim future: The maximum sustainable yield of this stock will shrink by 54% for each additional degree of warming, the team reports today in Science.”

    Since 1900, the oceans have not warmed even .1C, so what are they fussing about, the top 12″ of the oceans surface?

  3. I wonder which bit of the global temperature this Erik Stokstad lives in; for he seems to have got a bit overheated. Suggest like the fish he moves up to an higher latitude.

    Meanwhile : More CO2 = more biomass = more fish. I don’t think he told the computer about that.

    • “People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful. Our approach is not entirely empirical.”
      –John B. Mitchell

      Career background

      John Mitchell gained a BSc Honours degree in Applied Mathematics from The Queen’s University Belfast in 1970, and in 1973 he gained a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the same institution. In 1978, he took charge of the Climate Change group in what is now the Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research. He was Chief Scientist from 2002 to 2008 and Director of Climate Science from 2008 to 2010. He now works part time as Principal Research Fellow.

      “That was easy.”

      In oil & gas exploration, I can generate all sorts of computer models. I can even generate models that that contradict the observational evidence. If a computer model indicates that a particular seismic anomaly is a hydrocarbon indicator, but the observational evidence suggest that it isn’t, and we drill that anomaly, we will drill a dry hole. This actually happens on occasion… because “people underestimate the power of models.”

      The difference between climate “scientists” and oil industry geoscientists is that they never drill any wells.

      • Would be good to mention the cost per day of an onshore/offshore drill operation.
        Even computer models for auto fluid dynamics are tested against a wind tunnel.
        Just imagine the kind of modeling and testing for diesel combustion – a lot is at stake.
        Models can go badly wrong – look at the initial Mach 1 tests – the refused to take shock seriously, lost planes.

        • Back then, the models consisted of putting a pilot in a jet and having him fly the aircraft beyond its known limitations.

          If failed climate models carried a comparable fatality rate… there wouldn’t be any clinate models… 😉

        • As far as I know there was only one fatality in the “initial Mach 1 tests”, Geoffrey DeHavilland jr in the DH 108. This was caused by high-rate pitch oscillations at transsonic speed. The loss of longitudinal stability for a tailless design had not been foreseen.

          Oddly enough the first swept-wing tailless aircraft, Me 163, had very good high-speed characteristics (but a very dangerous power-plant), but essentially all later efforts in this line (and there were several, including in the US) proved deadly at high speed.

        • Incidentally we still build aircraft prototypes, and we still do envelope-opening slowly and carefully. Even though we now have computational fluid dynamics models good enough to dispense with a lot of wind-tunnel work, they are not good enough to avoid occasional nasty surprises. In some cases, like aerodynamic flutter, they are practically useless.

          And remember, modelling the airflow around an aircraft is vastly simpler than modelling climate, though from a purely mathematical point of view they are closely related (both essentially being based on the Navier-Stokes equations).

  4. Erik Stoksted of Sci Mag wrote, “When the water gets too warm, the enzymes they use for digestion and other functions are less efficient, impairing growth and reproduction.”

    2 to 5 degrees Celsius above average is hardly “too warm” in any biological setting. Yes, an additional +30 deg C water temp is too warm, as that tends to cook fish to a nice white flaky texture, but that is beside the point.

    So as biochemistry -tained PhD, I give this statement by Mr Stoksted a 3 Pinnochios = Mostly false.

    As someone who’s research included much biochemistry, I can assure you this statement by Mr Stoksted is not true in general. It may be true in some circumstances, but generally, biochemical enzymatic activity follows T, at least for the first few degrees above “normal.”

    • Solely in regards to potential variation in temperature of the water (not internal enzyme conditions) this has been a factor reported since the late 1980’s. In some kinds of fish they notably prefer breeding at lower, that is to say, cooler depths of their realm.

      At lower water temperature the released fish sperms’ driving flagella will have the rate of their flaggellar waveform “beat” go slower. The flagella are then using ATP enegy relatively less rapidly & there is an increased time frame for the chance to find an egg to fertilize (& sperm duration of motility lasts longer).

      As water temperature goes up the sperm’s driving flagella go faster & ATP is run down quicker. And then as ATP depletes the % of motile cells in the sperm cell goes down.

      Different kinds of fish have different potential flagellar velocities (ex: tuna’s is faster than halibut’s, which in turn is faster than sea bass’) & also duration of motility varies among different kinds of fish. So if local water temperature changes the relevant response in this context is in terms of sperm motility as it relates to which different kind of fish being considered.

      • That only strengthens my point that enzyme efficiency (turn-over rate) follows temp. Conserving energy by slowing enzyme turnover by going to lower temp can be surbival strategy.
        But that is NOT what Mr Stokstad wrote. He wrote that enzyme efficiency goes down with higher temp. Clearly wrong. And bad science from Science.

  5. The fish are reeling! Remember lefty “progressives” do not have a sense of humor.

  6. While working at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant located on the Chesapeake Bay, I couldn’t help but notice the preponderance of fishermen in their small boats hovering around the cooling water outfall. I suspect it wasn’t because the fishermen were cold!

    • It’s the same at the Oskarshamn nuclear powerplant in Sweden. Fishing is not permitted near the cooling water outfall, but the fishermen sneak in at night.

  7. In parts of the Indian, South pacific, and the north pacific oceans,cold water sharks such as great whites are being seen in numbers in places previously unknown closer to the tropics. Does anyone believe that they would choose water temps warmer than their normal range?Or are ocean temps really falling? I would think that the sharks are the real experts on water temps. Since the WMO began adding surface ships temperature readings to the ARGO data the resulting warming bias has rendered them useless. Tracking sharks may be the way to go.

    • White sharks are seasonally migrants going off shore & back to shore. They also take advantage of lower oxygen content water’s feedstock fish. For an example of tracked great whites’ roaming in the tropical regions see free full text available on-line of “Philopatry and migration of Pacific White Sharks”.

  8. Warmer oceans reduce certain fishing stocks, notably salmon. The whole PDO thing, (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) was discovered, not by a meteorologist, but an ichthyologist (fish guy). Indeed, pacific salmon stocks made a terrific, essentially immediate, rebound when the PDO shifted into cold in 2007. Record Salmon runs on the Campbell and Frazier rivers in BC in 2009 and 2010. The Cod fisheries near our Atlantic coast for millennium have moved north and south following the temperature optimum (which is pretty cold). When the AMO is positive, the fishery suffers.

    Right now the oceans are warmer – a lot warmer than the mean – SSTA-wise. There are a lot of poorly understood, yet to be discovered, oscillations in the ocean temperatures and currents. All things tend to regress to the mean, ocean temperatures included. Atmospheric CO2 and the carbon cycle probably has little to nothing to do with any of this – but – the oceans are warmer. They have been warming. It is a big deal when it comes to fisheries.

    • So this scare is really about the eco-elite worrying about not getting smoked salmon cheaply anymore? At least that makes sense…

  9. Not “easy” but too difficult for the author perhaps?

    1. On the page cited it’s clear that all rise is 99% China & Indonesia, not global at all.

    2, The original article mentioned “8 decades” and then counter with a graph of 2 decades showing the rise of two countries is a bit “easy” indeed. Or in other words: zero effort and yet worthy for a blog>

    This doesn’t mean I take a position on any claim of the original article, just highlighting the largely irrelevant remarks pretending to be some kind of critique.

    • The graph is not of two countries. It is of every country with significant aquaculture industries.

      The FAO and OECD data only go back to 2000. If I remember correctly, Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist features a much longer period graph of fishery harvests.

      This is the Science! headline:

      “Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse”

      It is not supported by any observational data.

      • David,
        I’m afraid that you’ve misinterpreted what the OECD data represents. Please see my comment below.

  10. The movement of fishes would be a very good indication of the temperature of the Oceans, at least the first 50 metres. If they move then they want a change in temperature. Gt that Fish Guy, can’t spell that word, he should be able to tell us if a fish is moving to cooler warder or the reverse. Probably almost as good as the Agro buoys, certainly a lot better than the PC models.


  11. “The fishies have all boiled away. Do you presume to know more than the Great Green Oz?? You ungrateful creatures! PAY NO ATTENTION to the fishing fleets blazing with artificial lights dragging miles of nets, behind the curtain.

    The Great Green Oz has spoken!”

  12. David, I truly hate to play the role of griff here, but it appears that OECD’s definition of aquaculture is “the farming of aquatic organisms”, as distinct from fisheries or wild catches. So your chart doesn’t seem to be relevant to the question, or could be seen as misleading.

    You might have had in mind that fish apparently don’t care much about water temperature because it’s highly likely that water temperature in fish farms is significantly warmer than in the open ocean. But to be intellectually honest, a measure of fish production from aquaculture as defined by OECD, is not a meaningful statistic. We do not know if 2016 production being 2.4 times greater than 2000 production represents an increase in productivity for existing fish farms, or represents a proliferation of fish farms, etc. In any case it does not seem to relate to wild-caught fishing.

    Recent estimates suggest that about one-third of global marine fish stocks are biologically overfished, up from about 10% in the mid-1970s. And the rapid progress of aquaculture production (the farming of aquatic organisms) now represents more than wild catches globally, raises concerns about pollution, disease, invasive species and costal [sic] ecosystem degradation in various parts of the world.

    (my emphasis)

    • This is the Science! headline:

      “Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse”

      It is not supported by any observational data.

      The Science! headline was written in English. Do you need a translation to some other language?

      • David,
        Showing a rapid increase in aquaculture production without showing the decline in wild-caught harvest or the total of the two is misleading. Fish farming (aquaculture) has increased rapidly in the past few decades. It balances out the depletion of wild stocks that are being over-fished. None of it has the slightest bit to do with warming oceans. I’m not disagreeing with your conclusions, just suggesting that you leave yourself open to people saying that your chart is misleading.

        Idiots like me, with a poor grasp of the English language, may be prone to think that you’re conflating aquaculture with total fish harvests.

        I’ll leave it to others to decide if my take on this is crazy.

        • Your take is as crazy as excluding domesticated livestock, poultry and all agricultural products and then writing:

          “Warming lands are hurting landfood supply—and things are getting worse”

          • In no way do I suggest that fish supplies should exclude aquaculture. And again, my view is that warming doesn’t enter into it in the least.

            I guess that you just don’t get my point that you can’t dispute a claimed reduction in total fish supply by only showing a change in an unspecified portion of the total fish supply. Does aquaculture supply 1% of the fish supply or 50%? How has wild-caught fishery production changed during the 2000-2016 period? How has the total changed? Showing the total of aquaculture and wild-caught would be the chart that makes your point fairly. Showing only the growth in aquaculture is like showing the growth of cryptocurrencies and claiming that it says something about world wealth.

            After a bit of googling, I guess that aquaculture has grown to be about half of global fish consumption, and supposedly wild fishery catches have declined by 40% in recent decades. I guess that it would probably mean that the total fish supply was flat to a modest increase over the time period. Certainly nothing like the 2.4x increase in your chart.

          • This is the Science! headline:

            “Warming oceans are hurting seafood supply—and things are getting worse”

            Seafood supply is not being hurt by anything and it’s clearly not getting worse. The claim is not supported by any observational data. The headline is false… It is a bald faced lie.

            Which part of this is difficult to understand?

          • Why do you refuse to understand my simple point? You can’t refute their claim by showing that a fraction of the seafood supply is rising rapidly. The total seafood supply is the relevant metric. In a very narrow sense, you are correct that they do not show data to support their claim. But you do not show valid data to refute their claim. Aquaculture is a fraction of the total seafood supply. A rapidly growing fraction, but still a fraction. It’s entirely possible that the total supply has fallen over the period. Nobody has provided any data about that. I think that you were probably right, but you failed to make the case by only showing that fish farming has increased rapidly.

            My criticism was intended to help you make your case more clearly. But your response is that I don’t understand English. Well, fine, I apologize for thinking that you would be interested in any constructive feedback David. It will make me more cautious about trusting your data in the future.

          • But just to be sure I get your point, isn’t this what you were trying to say about my argument?

          • No, not at all. If I thought your schist was all retarded, I would have said so. You are simply crafting a complicated strawman to explain away a bald-faced lie on the part of the Science! magazine “journalist.”

            I’m not attacking the underlying Rutgers study or the nuances in the Science! article. I’m attacking the bald-faced lie in the idiotically alarmist headline. If I had the time to thoroughly destroy the nuances and Rutgers study, I would break out Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist and FAO’s 2016 THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE

            FAO fishing

            To demonstrate that the headline to the article was a lie and that there isn’t even a nuanced defense of it.

          • Perfect! That’s what I’m talking about!

            That’s the chart that proves that the headline was a lie.

            And, it’s a lie, not just because seafood supplies are not being “hurt”. It’s also a lie because it has nothing to do with ocean temperature (or at least if it has anything to do with ocean temperature, they haven’t provided the slightest bit of evidence).

            I’m not expecting you to keep track of my earlier rants, but to anyone who might have noticed, it would be pretty laughable to think that I would want to explain away an alarmist lie with a convoluted strawman argument.

  13. I note not only “reeling” but “net effect” as humorous fishing puns in the excerpt. If this was intentional by the original author, great word play. If not, even better!

  14. “The whole sea seems to die…” about the 1880 Atlantic tilefish mortality. Cause still not adequately explained, maybe AMO not properly regulated. Sort of like when predatory fish go through a school of anchovies, kill quite a few, looks bad. That’s why marine fish produce so many eggs, chance of living to reproductive age nearly zero. Tilefish are found in depths of 80-540 meters.

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