Fish and other sea life have been moving toward Earth’s poles in search of cooler waters, part of a worldwide, decades-long migration documented for the first time by a study released Wednesday.
The research, published in the journal Nature, provides more evidence of a rapidly warming planet and has broad repercussions for fish harvests around the globe.
University of British Columbia researchers found that significant numbers of 968 species of fish and invertebrates they examined moved to escape the warming waters of their original habitats.Previous studies had documented the same phenomenon in specific parts of the world’s oceans. But the new study is the first to assess the migration worldwide and to look back as far as 1970, according to its authors.
The research is more confirmation that “global change is real and has been real for a long time,” said Boris Worm, a professor of marine biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who was not part of the study. “It’s not something in the distant future. It is well underway.”