Pinnegar, J.K. and Cheung, W.W.L. and Heath, Michael; (2010) Fisheries. In: Annual Report Card 2010-11, Science Review. Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership.

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‘What is already happening’ There is evidence that location where high catches of cod, haddock, plaice and sole occur, as reported by UK commercial fishing vessels, seems to have shifted over the past 80-90 years. Climate change may be a factor but fishing and habitat modification have also had an important effect. Shifting distributions of fish, partly as a result of climate change are having an impact on the effectiveness of some fishery closure areas and on the apportionment of fishery resources between neighbouring countries (e.g. mackerel in the north-east Atlantic). New fisheries have developed for a number of warmer-water species including seabass, red mullet, anchovy and squid. The stock biomass of seabass in the Western Channel has quadrupled since 1985 from 500t, to over 2000t in 2004/5. ‘What could happen in the future’. As a result of climate change, the UK as a whole is expected to benefit from slightly (i.e. +1-2% compared to present) higher fishery yields by 2050, although regions such as the Irish Sea and English Channel may see a reduction. Models suggest that cod stocks in the Celtic and Irish Seas may to disappear completely by 2100, while those in the North Sea are expected to decline. Climate change has been ‗eroding‘ the maximum sustainable yield of cod in the North Sea by around 32,000t per decade. Very little work has been carried out on the social and economic implications of climate change for the UK fishing industry, however calculations suggest that consequences will be significant only for fishery-dependent communities in the North of Scotland and in the southwest England. Ocean acidification may pose a significant threat to the UK shellfish industry, but more research is required.