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Exotic fish species in Danish waters due to climate change

Exotic fish species in Danish waters due to climate change

18-07-2013
New research from the Technical University of Denmark shows that the rise in sea temperature has encouraged fish species from warmer seas to migrate northwards. Danish fishermen could soon be fishing for swordfish and anchovies instead of cod and herring.

"Danish fishermen will find that the usual catch of species such as herring, cod and plaice will gradually disappear from their nets, while we anticipate new species, such as the anchovy, in their place," said Mark Payne from the Technical University of Denmark.


The journal Nature has published an article by Mark Payne in which he describes his research results. In his article, Mark Payne states that global warming, which is causing the seas to get warmer, is causing changes to the distribution of fish populations.


According to Payne it is no news that the size and distribution of a fish population change over time. However, that this trend is not restricted to local sites but is being observed throughout the globe is new.
Flexible fisheries.


Because we cannot curb climate change in the short term, Mark Payne suggests that we adapt to the changes and make our fisheries more flexible.
The changes will have complications for fishermen off the Jutland west coast, in particular, who will be catching fewer of the traditional species. Herring stocks in the North Sea, for example, have been significantly reduced over the past ten years. Both herring and cod are seeking north to colder waters.


Instead, new, exotic species are migrating to Danish waters. According to Mark Payne, people have already observed flying fish and swordfish in Danish waters, and this trend is likely to continue.


"The most obvious change we are expecting for Danish waters is that more and more fish from warmer southern climes will arrive in Danish waters and will be caught by Danish fishermen," Mark Payne said.


The new species require that fishermen change their practices and invest in new equipment. According to biologist Michael Andersen from the Danish Fishermen's Association, it will not be a problem for Danish fishermen to learn how to catch new types of fish.

 

"The fisheries have always had to adapt to changing conditions," Michael Andersen said to dr.dk, and he pointed out that the real problem is how we manage our fisheries and the regulations stipulating what fishermen may and may not fish for.


"If the cod disappears to more northern regions, the rules requiring a minimum cod stock size of 250,000 tonnes will make absolutely no sense. The challenge is to ensure that this is understood and implemented by our fisheries administration. The problem is the administrative system, not nature," said Michael Andersen.

 

Source: The journal Nature and dr.dk