Climate Change, Fish Migration, and Political Conflict

Author: Sue C. | Category: Environment | Date: 12-14-2019


As our planet heats up, fish are migrating north, spurring conflict between nations, especially among those that depend on fishing for a substantial proportion of their GDP. 

Iceland, a nation whose fortunes rise and fall with their fishing industry, has been noticing that fish that used to inhabit waters around Iceland, are disappearing and being replaced by fish from warmer waters.  For example, capelin used to be a staple fish for Icelandic fisheries, but they have moved farther north and are being replaced by fish such as mackerel and monkfish from the south. 

Conflict has been heating up in recent years between Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and the European Union over mackerel, but a consensus was never reached because Iceland, whose waters mackerel have been migrating to, simply declared their long-standing exclusive fishing rights and ignored complaints lodged by the other nations.

The worst consequence of the massive migration of fish to the north is that southern waters are increasingly devoid of fish altogether.  African nations like Ghana and Nigeria, who obtain  70% of their protein from fish according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, will soon see mass outflows of people moving north in search of food.

The countries that are least responsible for the carbon emissions that gave us climate change will most likely suffer its negative effects the most. (more)












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Category: Environment