The Nature Conservation Council of NSW says CSIRO findings that climate change will adversely impact fish and shellfish numbers are a wake up call for action on greenhouse gas emissions and the need for more marine sanctuaries.
“Australians love their seafood and the study found the effects of human-induced climate change could have a profoundly negative impact on Australia’s fish and shellfish numbers,” Ben Birt, Marine Conservation officer of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW said today.
“Many south eastern Australia’s fisheries are already under stress from overfishing and they will struggle to cope with the additional harmful impacts caused by rising water temperatures.
“The environmental toll on our oceans will have flow on effects for regional and coastal communities reliant on the fishing and aquaculture industries. Australian governments must acknowledge the cost of climate change to marine species and take urgent steps to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“In addition, sanctuary zones provide a safe haven for marine species where they can breed and rebuild numbers. Scientific research shows the need for at least 30 to 50 per cent of all marine waters worldwide to be fully protected, but Australia falls way short of this target. We call on Government to create a network of highly protected marine sanctuary zones, where all fishing is prohibited, in Australian waters.
“Consumers also have a role to play by making informed decisions about which fish and shellfish species they choose to eat based on its relative abundance and conservation status.
“We must act now to ensure we can continue to enjoy a sustainable harvest from our oceans and leave a healthy fish stock legacy for future generations,” Mr Birt said.