|Warming seas are driving fish toward cooler waters, which are often under the economic jurisdiction of other countries. The study, published online in the journal Science, showed for the first time that new fisheries are likely to appear in more than 70 countries all over the world because of climate change. In the past this had led to conflict between neighboring countries fighting for right to harvest species of fish, however this usually decided by national and regional fisheries management bodies and thus one fish moves out of the zone, a country no longer has authority over the fish.
Malin Pinsky, an assistant professor of ecology, evolution and natural resources in Rutgers–New Brunswick’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and his co-authors cited many examples of the disruption of fisheries causing international disputes, including the “mackerel war” between Iceland and the European Union (EU). Under rules agreed to by EU member nations, fishers harvest a certain number of mackerel each year to allow the population to remain stable. However, in 2007 the mackerel had begun to move to colder waters near Iceland, which is not an EU member. Iceland began fishing the mackerel and could not agree with the EU on fishing limits. The dispute became a trade war and to this day, it is ongoing.
Challenges will only continue to increase, according to the researchers. They suggest that coastal countries need to cooperate on international fishing regulations to prevent international conflicts and overfishing that threaten our food supply and the lives of the fish. They will need to successfully find a solution that benefits both countries’ economies while protecting the environment. If this is not handled properly, tension will continue to rise between countries.
If you would like to read more about this study, read more here.
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