Climate change could spell the end for North Sea cod and
haddock fishing, says expert
Last updated on 2/2/2017 Print this page
Fishermen may no longer be able to catch cod and haddock off
the shores of Britain in the next century, according to a marine
expert at the University of Hull.
Climate change could force some species of
fish to move north in search of colder waters to be replaced by
species not traditionally caught or farmed in UK waters, says
Professor Mike Elliott, Director of the University’s Institute of Estuarine
and Coastal Studies (IECS).
Professor Elliott was commenting as the
University announced its role in a multi-national European research
project to understand how climate change will affect Europe’s fish
and shellfish resources and the economic activities that depend on
Change and European Aquatic Resources project, known as CERES,
aims to help fisheries and aquaculture sectors in marine and inland
waters adapt to anticipated changes in the climate.
Experts say that urgent action is needed to
safeguard long-term food security against a background of global
The University’s primary role will be to
assess not only the risks but also the opportunities for fisheries
and aquaculture as fish stocks move further north and new species
take their place.
Professor Elliott, who is leading the Hull
team on the CERES project, said:
Climate change could mean that we don’t catch as many
cod, haddock and plaice as we do now.
Cold water species will move further north and in the
next century we might not be able fish for them any longer.
However, something else will take their place. A couple of decades
ago, anchovies were rare in our waters but now we catch them in the
There’s a risk we will lose species but one of the
things CERES is looking at is the opportunities for catching and
farming new species.
Warming waters brings risks, such as ocean
acidification and sea level rise, but the growth potential of
species and marine productivity may increase. In the next century
we may be catching and culturing species that we have not even
thought about yet. Therefore we need to make sure that fisheries
and aquaculture are able to take advantage of these changing
Professor Elliott said that climate change
will mean that in the future people will be eating different
species than they are now.
People are already eating Vietnamese catfish instead of
cod or haddock with their chips, and we also now eat orange roughy,
or deep sea perch. We now farm the non-native species the Manila
clam in the south of England and, in the future, instead of using
small sprat or herring for whitebait, we could be eating little
The four-year CERES project is being
coordinated by the University of Hamburg with funding of more than
£4m from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research
Using the latest science, CERES will predict
the distribution and production of major fish and shellfish species
in different European regions.
One of the main priorities will be to identify
opportunities for new aquaculture and fisheries into the next
century, the so-called Blue Growth agenda, including new species
and methods of production.
The University of Hull research team includes
staff from IECS as well as experts from the Hull International
Fisheries Institute, the Hull University Business School (HUBS),
the Law School and the Politics and International Studies
Dr Anita Franco, Senior Fish Ecologist in
The University’s team will apply industry-derived risk
management tools linked to computer models to assess fishery and
aquaculture opportunities resulting from climate change
The analysis will look at the vulnerability and
knowledge gaps for data-poor fisheries and aquaculture sectors,
where quantifying the impacts of climate change on both the
biological and economic performance are not yet
The CERES project will involve 125 scientists
26 European countries as well as 15 from non-European countries,
including the USA and Canada.
The project has contributions from
oceanographers, hydrologists, modellers, ecologists, aquatic
physiologists, social scientists, economists, fishermen and fish
and shellfish farmers.
Professor Myron Peck, of Hamburg University,
the CERES Coordinator said:
The EU requires fishing and aquaculture to be
environmentally sustainable, economically viable and socially
acceptable. It has to provide long-term European food security
given prevailing and future climatic conditions.
Climate change will affect the way we achieve these
ambitions and so a greater understanding is urgently needed to
ensure that management measures remain appropriate and