The infamous British cod is now under threat, as warm-water fish will now be replacing cold-water fish as sea temperatures rise.
According to the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Britain may have to adopt more continental variations of fish such as squid, mackerel and sardine.
According to CEFAS researcher, Dr. John Pinnegar, “our models for 2025 and beyond suggest that seawater temperature may continue to rise in the future.
As a result, UK waters will become more hospitable for some species and less suitable for others, with the overall result that most commercial species will move northwards.”
CEFAS analyses records of water temperature and locations at which fish are caught in order to monitor the impact of climate change and fishing intensity to long-term changes in availability of different species.
Having been monitoring North Sea fish populations for over a century, CEFAS also said that squid numbers have been dramatically increasing over the past 35 years. Squid was found at 60% of 76 survey stations in 2016, as opposed to just 20% in 1984.
Cod also haven’t been recovering much after being severely over-fished over the past few decades. In 1971, there were a recorded 1.3 million tons cods in the North Sea, as opposed to a shocking 124,000 tons in 2004.
This has risen to 295,000 tons in 2016, as an attempt to recover their population numbers, however scientists say this recovery has been slowed by the gradual warming of waters.
“UK consumers enjoy eating quite a limited range of seafood, but in the long term we will need to adapt our diets,” Pinnegar continues. “In 2025 and beyond, we may need to replace cod and other old favorites with warm-water species such as squid, mackerel, sardine and red mullet.”