Warming seas may spell the end to Britain's fish and chips

2015-04-14 08:19

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London - Warming seas may spell the end to traditional British food favourites such as haddock and chips, researchers said on Monday.

Haddock, plaice and lemon sole are to decline in numbers as the North Sea warms by a predicted 1.8°C over 50 years, according to research by University of Exeter scientists.

"Our study suggests that we will see proportionally less of some of the species we eat most of as they struggle to cope with warming conditions in the North Sea," said postgraduate researcher and research author Louise Rutterford.

The North Sea, the part of the Atlantic Ocean stretching between Britain, Norway, Denmark and Germany, has warmed four times faster than the global average over the last four decades.

The researchers calculated the affect of predicted future warming on popular fish species, which are likely to be squeezed as they can only thrive in particular water temperatures, habitats and depths.

Some fish species will not be able to travel northwards to cooler waters, as the depths to which they are suited are not available there.

"Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place," said fellow paper author Steve Simpson, senior lecturer in marine biology and global change.

"For sustainable UK fisheries, we need to move on from haddock and chips and look to southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration."

The research paper, "Future fish distributions constrained by depth in warming seas" appeared in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

Read more on:    climate change  |  marine life

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