A new report from the international Nereus Program highlights warns that current environmental changes will lead to a decline in fisheries in many regions and alterations of marine biodiversity and food web structure. Photo: S.E. Arndt/Azote


Future seafood supply

A much different dinner plate

Future seafood supply will be substantially altered by climate change, overfishing and habitat destruction if we do not take actions

Story highlights

  • An improved framework for global ocean governance will be needed to ensure sustainable fisheries in the future
  • The critical state of the world's oceans requires interdisciplinary approaches and extensive capacity building
  • The Nereus Program is a global interdisciplinary initiative between the Nippon Foundation
    and the University of British Columbia

A new report by the Nereus Program, an international interdisciplinary research programme aimed at predicting future oceans, highlights how climate change will affect the sustainability of global marine fisheries in the 21st century.

The report, entitled Predicting Future Oceans: Climate Change, Oceans & FisheriesPDF (pdf, 1.2 MB), puts together findings from oceanography, ecology, fisheries and social-economics.

It concludes that climate change and ocean acidification, along with overfishing and habitat destruction, will lead to a decline in fisheries in many regions and alterations of marine biodiversity and food web structure.

"The types of fish that we will have on our dinner table will be very different decades later compared to now," says Dr. William Cheung, University of British Colombia Associate Professor and the Co-Director of the Nereus programme.

"Fisheries will be catching more tropical species of a smaller size, and that will affect fish supply through our domestic and oversea fisheries as well as imports"

Dr. William Cheung, co-Director of the Nereus programme

Improved framework needed
The report communicates the urgency and complexity while
having concrete appeal to policy makers and other stakeholders. It argues that an improved framework for global ocean governance will be needed to ensure sustainable fisheries in the future.

"Global marine ecosystems have already been largely altered by overfishing,” says Dr. Daniel Pauly, Professor at the University of British Columbia and an advisor to the Nereus Program.

"This report clearly points out that any solution needs to deal with the CO2 problem as well."

Conventional science not enough
Dr. Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, the co-founder of the Nereus Program, warns that "we are at a critical point" and that if no effective measures are taken against the current problems facing the oceanic environment, human beings will no longer be able to sustain its economic activities, much less its existence.

He argues that the critical state of the world's oceans requires interdisciplinary approaches and extensive capacity building through comprehensive programmes like Nereus. Stockholm Resilience Centre is part of the Nereus Program on behalf of Stockholm university.

Download the report herePDF (pdf, 1.2 MB)

ABOUT THE NEREUS PROGRAM

Read more

The Nereus Program is a global interdisciplinary initiative between the Nippon Foundation
and the University of British Columbia. It was created to further our knowledge of how best
to attain sustainability for our world’s oceans.

In addition to the Nippon Foundation and UBC, the programme is comprised of several other partner institutions, including the University
of Cambridge, Duke University, Princeton University, Stockholm University, United Nations
Environmental Program-World Conservation Monitoring Centre and Utrecht University.

Contact Dep. Science Director Henrik Österblom for more information about Stockholm Resilience Centre's contribution to the programme.

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Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

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