Adding our voice to the COP26 call
Global societal consensus on the effects of climate change on fisheries and other aquatic resources
Below is a condensed version of the letter sent to the Rt Hon Alok Sharma (the President of COP26) and to Mr Nick Bridge (the UK Special Representative for Climate Change) from our President, Professor Colin Adams, on behalf of the FSBI.
Towards the end of 2020 the FSBI joined 111 other societies, representing 80,000 scientists across the world to call for urgent action to reduce emissions to avoid catastrophic impacts to commercial, recreational and subsistence fisheries, aquatic ecosystems, human health, and global economies (Read More on that Here).
The Urgency of Carbon Emission Reductions
It is very clear that there is an urgent need to reduce carbon emissions to ensure the sustainability of this vital global food source. We also seek to underscore the importance of protecting the integrity of healthy aquatic ecosystems and restoring degraded systems, and eventually reversing, the effects of climate change.
Climate change will result in fish species range reductions, species extinctions, and the expansion of invasive species. Delaying action to stop underlying causes of climate change will have economic, environmental, and societal consequences.
Many of these changes are and will be, irreversible.
But, they will continue to worsen if we persist on our current trajectory with a mounting toll on vulnerable ecosystems, human societies, and local and global economies.
Mitigation and Adaptation to Help Protect Aquatic Resources
As part of any climate solution, we must protect the integrity of our healthy aquatic ecosystems and work to restore degraded systems in order to maintain their role in the storage of carbon as a crucial part of halting and eventually reversing the effects of climate change.
In addition, coastal ecosystems are being transformed, degraded, or lost, either largely or in part due to carbon emissions causing global ocean acidification. Not only does the affect primary production, from coral reefs to kelp forests, but is also tied to the survival of organisms especially shellfish.
Furthermore, climate change is interacting with other stressors such as excess nutrient input, overharvesting, and novel species interactions to further suppress marine ecosystems.
[click_to_tweet tweet=” Thus we must mitigate the impacts of climate change on fish and fisheries and plan for the adaptation required to ensure the long-term health of freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems.” quote=”Thus we must mitigate the impacts of climate change on fish and fisheries and plan for the adaptation required to ensure the long-term health of freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems.” theme=”style1″]
The economic and environmental value of the ecosystem services provided by global aquatic resources is of the utmost importance to the future of us all and safeguarding these resources must be of the highest priority. We urge you to further exercise your leadership on the global stage to achieve even greater progress in the face of this climate emergency.