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Meeting the eye-witnesses of ocean change
Date:2/12/2014

tists and adapt further research to the demands of society." Norway was chosen because the fishing industry, a branch that is likely to be hit first by effects of climate change, plays a very important economic role there. Also, tourism is strongly connected to coastal regions and fjords. The analysis of this region, for which earth system models predict early impacts of ocean acidification and warming, can serve as an example for other social-ecological systems.

Obvious effects of climate change are already perceived by the stakeholders in the northward range shifts of cod and mackerel stocks and the immigration of sardines into Norwegian waters. Fishers also noticed variations of timing and location of spawning. "It was impressive to see how much knowledge fishers have about ecological links and changes", Stefan Koenigstein, marine biologist in the research project points out. "Based on their experience, fishers wondered if future changes in the ecosystem will be abrupt or if there will be time to adapt. These are exactly the questions that the scientists in the field are concerned with. People who are actually affected by the changes in their livelihoods can contribute a lot with their first-hand experience and should be taken along in the research process."

To prepare properly for future conditions, fishing associations asked for an assessment that incorporates dynamics of different life stages and the availability of food for commercial species. "Because of the complexity of marine food webs, questions were posed on how interactions between species would change, what would happen if key species were impacted and what chain reactions might happen", Koenigstein summarizes.

Changes in fish stocks would also have dramatic socio-economic impacts, the scientists conclude from their interviews. The number of fishers has steadily been reduced to keep up the fisheries' productivity this step might be taken again to cope with shrinking or movi
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Contact: Maike Nicolai
mnicolai@geomar.de
49-431-600-2807
Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR)
Source:Eurekalert

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