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Fish could shrink as much as 30 per cent due to climate change

Last Updated Aug 28, 2017 at 11:34 am PDT

(iStock, Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Our fish are about to get seriously smaller, according to a new study from UBC looking into how they will be affected by climate change.

As the waters heat up, those conditions make it harder for fish to breathe, and will accelerate their metabolisms.

“What we find is the physiology of fish is actually very sensitive to temperature,” says Associate Professor William Cheung.

In real terms that could mean fish will stop growing sooner, with future generations perhaps 20 to 30 per cent smaller.

“Fish that are very metabolically active, such as tuna — we find that they are actually very sensitive to these changes,” says Cheung.

The study, called Sound physiological knowledge and principles in modelling shrinking of fishes under climate change, also finds this will affect production for fisheries and change aquatic ecosystems. It was published in the journal Global Change Biology.