Environment Out-of-place fish warn of climate change impacts

Out-of-place fish warn of climate change impacts

Marine species may be moving beyond their known distribution regions in response to climate change, a new study has found.

University of Tasmania honours student Hannah Fogarty compiled a list of verified first sightings of fish outside their expected habitats around the world and compared it with long-term data on warming oceans. She found a correlation between the early stages of a species range shift and climate change.

“Climate change is leading to global changes in species distribution patterns and the reshuffling of biodiversity is already well underway,” Ms Fogarty said. She said that in Australia, for example, tropical and sub-tropical fish are increasingly being found in temperate waters.

“New marine species arriving in an area may become pests, modify the local ecosystem, or represent challenges or opportunities for fisheries and recreation.

“It’s therefore important to detect the early signs that fish may be moving into a new area, allowing for risks to be assessed and proactive management strategies to be put in place.”

Ms Fogarty’s study was conducted in collaboration with scientists from the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), CSIRO, Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and the Scottish Association of Marine Science.

Get the fishy facts of Ms Fogarty’s study here. Story credit: University of Tasmania newsroom.

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