Cod in heat stress

Northeast Atlantic stands are increasingly suffering from the effects of climate change

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Warmer seas are exacerbating the situation of overfished cod, according to a new study by the environmental organization WWF. So the combination of climate change and commercial exploitation makes it increasingly likely that cod stocks could collapse. According to the report, the warming of the Northeast Atlantic is causing cod to grow at a slower rate and fewer and fewer new fish are refreshing their dwindling numbers.


Climate change affects the Northeast Atlantic, especially the North Sea, particularly strongly. Experts have been measuring an annual temperature increase of 0.13 degrees Celsius in the North Sea since 1993, and the total temperature has now risen by 1.7 degrees. For the entire Northeast Atlantic climate models come in the course of the 21 Century to a warming of 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius.

As a result, according to the WWF study, a significantly lower growth of cod stocks had already been observed in the 1990s. Warmer seas affect the food supply for fish larvae. So they grow slower, their chances of survival decline. "Overfishing and climate change are a vicious cycle.

The more decimated the stocks, the more cod suffers from higher temperatures and irresponsible quotas. Only healthy fish stocks can respond adequately to changes, "said WWF spokeswoman Heike Vesper. In the North Sea alone, 28, 000 tonnes of cod are caught each year. display

The consequences of ocean warming must be taken into account in the fisheries policy, according to the WWF. "This double pressure is currently preventing the cod from recovering. The WWF calls for a rigorous stop for the most vulnerable stocks, "said Vesper. The environmental organization is also committed to a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions in order to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius.

(WWF, 08.05.2007 - AHE)