Year 3, Month 10, Day 10: You Can’t Tuna Fish…

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune cites a report from the LA Times that as the oceans change, fish are shrinking:

It’s not just fish populations shrinking, according to a new study. Fish themselves will be much smaller within a few decades.

Global warming linked to greenhouse-gas emissions will cause the body weight of more than 600 types of marine fish to dwindle up to 24% between 2000 and 2050, according to a report in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Additional factors, such as overfishing and pollution, will only make matters worse.

Ultimately, the changes “are expected to have large implications for trophic interactions, ecosystem functions, fisheries and global protein supply,” according to the study.

Aquatic creatures grow depending on the temperature, oxygen and resources available in water, according to researchers. Fish will struggle to breathe and develop as oceans become warmer and less oxygenated.

Rush Limbaugh thinks it’s environmentalists doing it, I’m sure. Sent October 2:

Leave aside that industrialized fishing and exploding human populations have already reduced world fish populations to a fraction of their former numbers. Leave aside that as oceans absorb excess CO2, they acidify, creating hostile conditions for much sea life. The news that climate change is affecting fishes’ physical size may seem surprising, but in a larger context it’s one among many unanticipated consequences proliferating in the wake of rising atmospheric CO2.

As we enter the Anthropocene Era, defined by human intervention in the climate, we’ll be facing a lot of surprises. While some will be pleasant (longer growing seasons in Northern latitudes may make farmers happy), the vast majority point to a more difficult life for our descendants, who may well find themselves gasping for oxygen as oceanic phytoplankton die off in record numbers.

Shrinking fish are just one more dismaying facet of a metastasizing planetary crisis, one we ignore at our peril. How many more such news items must we read before we finally act?

Warren Senders

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