Rebuilding fish biomass for the world's marine ecoregions under climate change.

Cheung, William W L; Palacios-Abrantes, Juliano; Frölicher, Thomas L; Palomares, Maria Lourdes; Clarke, Tayler; Lam, Vicky W Y; Oyinlola, Muhammed A; Pauly, Daniel; Reygondeau, Gabriel; Sumaila, U Rashid; Teh, Lydia C L; Wabnitz, Colette C C (2022). Rebuilding fish biomass for the world's marine ecoregions under climate change. Global change biology, 28(21), pp. 6254-6267. Wiley 10.1111/gcb.16368

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Rebuilding overexploited marine populations is an important step to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 14-Life Below Water. Mitigating major human pressures is required to achieve rebuilding goals. Climate change is one such key pressure, impacting fish and invertebrate populations by changing their biomass and biogeography. Here, combining projection from a dynamic bioclimate envelope model with published estimates of status of exploited populations from a catch-based analysis, we analyze the effects of different global warming and fishing levels on biomass rebuilding for the exploited species in 226 marine ecoregions of the world. Fifty three percent (121) of the marine ecoregions have significant (at 5% level) relationship between biomass and global warming level. Without climate change and under a target fishing mortality rate relative to the level required for maximum sustainable yield of 0.75, we project biomass rebuilding of 1.7-2.7 times (interquartile range) of current (average 2014-2018) levels across marine ecoregions. When global warming level is at 1.5 and 2.6°C, respectively, such biomass rebuilding drops to 1.4-2.0 and 1.1-1.5 times of current levels, with 10% and 25% of the ecoregions showing no biomass rebuilding, respectively. Marine ecoregions where biomass rebuilding is largely impacted by climate change are in West Africa, the Indo-Pacific, the central and south Pacific, and the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Coastal communities in these ecoregions are highly dependent on fisheries for livelihoods and nutrition security. Lowering the targeted fishing level and keeping global warming below 1.5°C are projected to enable more climate-sensitive ecoregions to rebuild biomass. However, our findings also underscore the need to resolve trade-offs between climate-resilient biomass rebuilding and the high near-term demand for seafood to support the well-being of coastal communities across the tropics.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics

UniBE Contributor:

Frölicher, Thomas


500 Science > 530 Physics








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Date Deposited:

02 Sep 2022 15:25

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:23

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