Fisheries Conservation photo

Are you catching ever-smaller fish? Don’t blame your inherent lack of skill. Instead, just chalk it up to global climate change.

From this story on the BBC:

Fish species are expected to shrink in size by up to 24% because of global warming, say scientists. Researchers modelled the impact of rising temperatures on more than 600 species between 2001 and 2050. Warmer waters could decrease ocean oxygen levels and significantly reduce fish body weight. The scientists argue that failure to control greenhouse gas emissions will have a greater impact on marine ecosystems than previously thought.

According to the story, the researchers’ computer models suggested that as ocean temperatures rise, so do fish body temperatures, but with rising body temperatures comes a corollary rise in metabolism rate and oxygen requirement, oxygen that just won’t be there in a warming ocean. So the fish will run out of the oxygen needed for growth, which will result in smaller overall size.

Researchers also used computer models to predict fish movement in a warming climate. The prediction? No surprise: most fish populations will begin moving toward the earth’s poles at a rate of 36 kilometers per decade. So, if you’ve ever dreamed of catching a tarpon in Alaska (and who hasn’t, right?) just wait a while.