Empty nets and tropical fish in Tasmania as climate change hits Southern Ocean

Rising temperatures and climate change have been blamed for the failure of stocks of some of the most popular eating fish in Australia’s Southern Ocean to recover from declines despite more than a decade of protection. The troubling findings come as new modelling from the CSIRO shows further temperature rises already “locked in by past emissions” could see fish stocks fall by another 20 per cent within the next two decades.

Dr Alistair Hobday, a principal research scientist at the CSIRO, said there was “no doubt” climate change was an important factor in the failure of some over-fished species to recover. A report by the government’s Fisheries Research and Development Corporation has found ocean temperatures increased by nearly 2 degrees over the past 80 years in the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, a “global hotspot” that was warming at almost four times the global average.

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