When I first became involved with Montclair Climate Action, I thought about climate change impacting life on land.

Carbon emissions, killer heat and global warming were my go-to climate change terminology.

But fish migration, a result of climate change, is negatively affecting fish populations and the sustainable fishing industry.

The increase in marine heat waves over the last 30 years is causing many fish species to relocate to the poles.

American fisheries will suffer economically when fish migrate to the north. Mackerel, rock fish, Atlantic sea bass and North Atlantic cod are four of the species most affected.

Many North Atlantic cod die before reaching adulthood.

Wild fish is a low-carbon blue food. Blue foods are derived from animals, plants and algae living in freshwater and marine environments.

Fish emit 1 to 5 kilograms of carbon for every kilogram caught. Beef produces 5 to 750 kilograms of carbon for each kilogram of meat!

Sustainable fisheries don't capture endangered fish species or fish that have no commercial value.

Sustainable fisheries combat climate change by using management techniques that ensure they catch only sustainable seafood. They keep up with current science.

If people choose to buy seafood from sustainable fisheries, it will help marine populations rebuild. Sustainably raised fish also reduce pressure on wild fisheries, of which 85% are exploited, resulting in endangered species.

Wild fisheries exist in oceans, rivers and lakes. Fish living in these environs are wild. Wild fisheries need to be fished sustainably.

Overfishing depletes marine populations including sea turtles and coral.

Sustainable seafood includes:

  1. Shrimp, prawns, clams, mussels, scallops, oysters and Dungeness crab
  2. Salmon
  3. Pollock
  4. Anchovies
  5. Albacore tuna

Eating sustainable seafood could result in a longer, healthier life.

Charter fishing boats could follow the same guidelines as sustainable fisheries. Companies selling fish to food markets could use sustainable seafood. So could restaurants and catering establishments. 

Climate change organizations could work with businesses to educate them.

According to an article by Susan Smilley published by The Guardian, “Fish under threat from ocean oxygen depletion, finds study,” a recent study conducted by the Geomar Helmholtz Research Centre for Ocean Research in Germany, finds that oxygen in our oceans has been depleted by 2% in the last 50 years. It's predicted that oxygen levels will deplete by 7% by 2100. 

Many marine life species will not be able to adapt.

Oceans need stewardship and protection. Once our resources are gone, they will be gone for good.

Jacqueline Stearns