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Turning the heat up on cod


Climate models predict warmer temperatures due to global warming and this will mean warmer seas. Cod are essentially a cold-water species so what will warmer waters mean for them?

Based on future predictions of warmer waters, stocks in the Celtic and Irish Seas are expected to disappear while those in the southern North Sea and Georges Bank will decline. Cod will probably spread northward along the coasts of Greenland and Labrador and occupy larger areas of the Barents Sea.

Also growth rates of many of the stocks are likely to increase with warmer temperatures.

But the point is made that fishing will continue to play a strong, and in some cases, a dominant role on cod stocks and so any projections will be very dependant upon future fishing intensity. If fishing reduces present cod stocks to minimal levels, there may not be enough cod to expand and drive the predicted increased production –certainly not to the extent that could potentially occur if fishing pressure were to be reduced.

This presentation will be made at a special cod and climate change theme session at the ICES Annual Science Conference in Aberdeen 20-24 September 2005. The cod and climate session will be on Friday 23/09/05

Neil Fletcher | alfa
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