Net loss: First Nations fisheries threatened by climate change, study says

First Nations communities that have fished along Canada’s Pacific coast for thousands of years could have their catches nearly cut in half by 2050, according to a new study conducted at the University of British Columbia.

See Full Article

As climate change continues to heat up ocean temperatures, researchers predict that fish living in Canadian waters could respond by moving north to chillier habitats.

Researchers say increased sea surface temperatures are likely to affect 98 fish and shellfish species that First Nations groups rely on for food and jobs. The price tag for such a loss is estimated to be between $6.7 and $12 million per year by 2050, according to the study.

“This could have large implications for communities who have been harvesting these fish and shellfish for millennia,” said United Nations scientist Lauren Weatherdon, who conducted the study as a UBC graduate student, in a statement.

The study was published Wednesday in PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed science journal, and was conducted by a research team with the Nereus Program, an international group of scientists at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries.

The study examined two possible scenarios for rising sea-surface temperatures -- a low-balled projection (0.5 degrees Celsius by 2050) and a higher projection (1 degree Celsius by 2050) -- and mapped out models of how fish would likely respond.

In the low estimate, researchers say fish would move towards polar waters at an average rate of 10.3 kilometres per decade. In the higher estimate, fish would relocate at an average rate of 18 kilometres per decade, the study says.

The findings are significant because First Nations groups are “generally confined to their traditional territories when fishing for food, social, and ceremonial purposes,” Weatherdon said.

Herring are expected to be among the hardest-hit species, with researchers predicting catches reduced up to 49 per cent by 2050. For salmon, catches are expected to decrease as much as 29 per cent by 2050.

Researchers say that all First Nations communities are expected to be affected by rising sea temperatures, but groups living in southern B.C., such as the Tsawwassen and Maa-nulth First Nations, are expected to be the “most severely affected.”

Governments across the world have expressed commitments to curb global warming. Last December, all 195 countries participating in the United Nations climate change summit agreed to keep global warming "well below" 2 C while striving to limit them to 1.5 C instead.

And while the Paris Agreement acknowledged the concerns of First Nations people, study co-author Yoshitaka Ota said that “little is known about the impacts of climate change on coastal indigenous people.”

The study hopes to fill in that knowledge gap and provide accurate figures as to the future of coastal fishing for First Nations.

If the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement are met, researchers say the consequences to First Nations could be mitigated.

“Limiting global warming effectively to 1.5 C by the end of the 21st century, as represented by the low emission scenario considered by our study, can substantially reduce such impacts,” said co-author and UBC associate professor William Cheung in a statement.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • RCMP commissioner warns continued IT failures will have 'catastrophic' consequences

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's top cop is warning that ongoing computer network failures and slipshod service from Shared Services Canada could have "catastrophic" consequences for police and the public. CBC News has obtained a blistering Jan. 20, 2017, memo to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in which Commissioner Bob Paulson details how critical IT failures have increased by 129 per cent since the beleaguered department took over tech support for the entire government five years ago. Source
  • Tax-free saving schemes fail to prepare many for retirement: Don Pittis

    Canada News CBC News
    With the RRSP deadline only days away, the inventor of one of Canada's tax sheltered saving plans says there is evidence such schemes have failed to encourage people to save properly, and he warns there are changes afoot. Source
  • 'You can lose everything': Tenant's medical marijuana grow-op costs landlord insurance

    Canada News CBC News
    Longtime landlord Darryl Spencer was left scrambling for insurance after discovering a tenant was growing dozens of medical marijuana plants inside and outside his rental house. When the landlord told his insurance company about the perfectly legal grow-op, his coverage was cancelled, leaving him with no insurance, few rights and a big cleanup bill. Source
  • Battered eastern Ukraine seems headed into protracted on-and-off war

    World News CBC News
    On Feb. 19, one day before the latest attempt at a ceasefire in Ukraine, 51-year-old Vitaliy Yermolovich sat in the ruins of his home in Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine and laughed. "So, it'll be the 30th ceasefire?" he said, looking toward his neighbour, Telman Salimov, who fled the conflict in Karabakh nearly 30 years ago for the safety of Ukraine. Source
  • Father of dead Navy SEAL refused to meet Trump, wants Yemen raid investigated

    World News CBC News
    The father of a Navy SEAL killed during an anti-terrorism raid in Yemen is demanding an investigation into its planning and criticized the Trump administration for its timing. Bill Owens told The Miami Herald in a story published Sunday that he refused to meet with President Donald Trump when both came to Dover Air Force Base to receive the casket carrying his son, Chief Special Warfare Officer William (Ryan) Owens. Source
  • Ex-congregants of evangelical church reveal years of abuse

    World News CTV News
    SPINDALE, N.C. -- From all over the world, they flocked to this tiny town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lured by promises of inner peace and eternal life. What many found instead: years of terror - waged in the name of the Lord. Source
  • Indonesian police kill suspected militant during attack

    World News CTV News
    BANDUNG, Indonesia - Indonesian police said they shot and killed a suspected militant in the West Java capital of Bandung on Monday after his bomb exploded in a vacant lot and he fled into a municipal building and set it alight. Source
  • Parade float crashes into specators during Rio's Carnival

    World News CBC News
    A float crashed during Rio de Janeiro's world famous Carnival parade Sunday evening and injured at least 12 people, including at least one person reported in serious condition, but organizers proceeded with the show. The incident involved the last float of the first samba school parading through Rio's Sambadrome. Source
  • 'This is not a joke': Confusion, Moonlight and other Oscar highlights

    World News CBC News
    There was drama, comedy and even a plot twist on Sunday at the 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Here are a few memorable moments that stood out and, of course, the one that stood above the rest. Source
  • U.S. officials not yet authorized to vet Australia refugees

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, Australia - U.S. security officers have yet to be authorized by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to vet refugees held on Pacific islands for potential resettlement in the United States, an Australian official said on Monday. Source