The latest data on how vulnerable some fisheries are to climate-change changes are being released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this week.
The report, published by the UNEP on Wednesday, details how the areas of the world that are most likely to see more fish losses are those in the Arctic, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic and the Pacific.
These areas are currently home to about 1.5 million fish species, which is the lowest rate of increase since at least the 1950s.
These are the areas most likely regions to experience “significant” and “substantial” declines, the UNep said.
However, they are also the most vulnerable regions, as the oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, and the impact of climate change is already having an effect on some of the most sensitive species.
For example, the Gulf of Mexico is currently absorbing about three times as much CO2 as it was in the 1950-1960 period, and there is a “significant potential” that the region could see up to two-thirds of its fish stocks disappear, the report said.
The researchers said that these changes are not being seen in places like the Mediterranean or Atlantic, which are home to some of Europe’s most valuable marine species, including sea cucumbers, clams and shrimp.
They also highlighted the importance of using the existing knowledge of how fish stocks are affected to inform fisheries management, especially when it comes to the exploitation of species like salmon and tuna.
The UNEP said that it was not enough to merely predict the future, and that a comprehensive analysis of fisheries would also be needed to determine how to mitigate the impacts of climate-related change.
The study was published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Climatology.