Sea Technology

JAN 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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42 ST | January 2018 fish and invertebrate species in the Northeastern United States found that half had a "very high" or "high" vulner- ability to climate change. As climate change wreaks havoc on the world's oceans, commercial operators and subsistence fishers alike will have to adapt to the new conditions, or risk fading away. Yet, the least developed nations already face a distinct disadvantage in this arena. International insti- tutions will face the daunting task of managing global fisheries in an equitable, sustainable and resilient man- ner if these shared assets are to remain viable into the next century. ST Review&Forecast Fisheries & Aquaculture: Landings Slip While Farmed Production Shows Modest Increase By Rick Martin Publisher Commercial Fisheries News and Fish Farming News C ommercial landings of wild-caught fish and seafood dipped slightly last year, while U.S. production of farm-raised species showed modest gains in both marine and freshwater sectors. Per capita seafood consumption, however, dropped by about 1/2 lb., reversing gains shown the previous year. Commercial Landings U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion lb. of fish and shellfish in 2016 (the most recent year for which statistics are available). This represented a decrease of 145.6 million lb., or about 1.5 percent, compared to 2015, according to NOAA's annual report, "Fisheries of the United States 2016." Value of U.S. commercial landings, however, was up. The value of commercial landings was $5.3 billion, up by $108.7 million, or an increase of roughly 2.1 percent versus 2015. Imports were up in both volume and value. Imports of edible fishery products in 2016 were calculated by NOAA at 5.8 billion lb. valued at $19.5 billion. Volume increased by 90.3 million lb., about 1.6 percent, while value increased by $693 million, or 3.7 percent, com- pared with 2015. Seafood Consumption There was some slippage in per capita seafood con- sumption in the U.S. during 2016, breaking a three-year trend toward higher numbers. In 2016, U.S. consumers ate 14.9 lb. of seafood per person, a decrease of 0.9 lb. from 2015's level of 15.5 lb. While the decline was fairly modest, it contradicts popular opinion that Americans are eating more fish and seafood as part of a healthy diet. Per capita seafood con- sumption in the U.S. remains well below the all-time re- cord high of 16.6 lb. set in 2004. U.S. consumers spent an estimated $93.2 billion for a population decline for commercially fished herring, cod, mackerel and salmon. In addition, corals contribute to the generation and maintenance of vital reef habitats that house enormous biodiversity and sustain global fish- eries valued at $6.8 billion annually. Studies show that the northeastern Pacific Ocean, including waters off the West Coast of the United States and the western Arctic Ocean, are particularly vulnerable to drastic changes in pH and calcium carbonate saturation levels, posing a sig- nificant threat to the region's calcifying organisms within the next 50 years. Warming waters have also allowed infectious dis- eases to spread to regions that were previously too cold for such pathogens to survive in. Along North America's Eastern Seaboard, warm-water diseases known as MSX and Dermo have been found to wipe out 90 percent of an oyster crop when they are able to gain a foothold during mild winters. Certain species of Vibrio bacteria are expected to become more prevalent in shellfish as waters warm, presenting health risks to humans. Vibrio vulnificus is estimated to be responsible for 95 percent of all seafood-borne deaths, despite its historical rarity in northern waters. Likewise, a study demonstrated that for every 1° C increase in ocean temperature, the number of cholera outbreaks in humans rose by 200 percent due to the presence of Vibrio cholera bacteria in shellfish. Fisheries and aquaculture are part of the livelihoods for 10 to 12 percent of the global population, with more than 90 percent of capture fishermen employed by small- scale endeavors in developing nations. The world's fish- eries delivered an excess of $129 billion in exports in 2012 and accounted for 16 percent of humanity's total animal protein consumption. Although shifts in ocean temperatures and acidity may improve the production of fisheries in certain parts of the world, the regions that stand to lose the most are already among the most vul- nerable to climate change impacts. Impoverished and subsistence fishers located in central and western African countries; northwestern South America; certain tropical Asian countries; and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are all at risk of seeing their livelihoods and key food sources vanish. Although the United States possesses more robust food security than much of the world, more than 90 per- cent of all the seafood America consumes is imported. At the same time, many domestic fisheries have been struggling, in part due to climate change impacts. A 2015 assessment of the $1 billion U.S. shellfish industry identi- fied numerous regions vulnerable to ocean acidification, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts. Alaska's commercial fishing industry pulls in $5 billion in annual revenue and accounts for 60 percent of the overall U.S. commercial fish catch, but the region is among the most susceptible to future ocean acidifi- cation. Lobster catches from New York to New England plummeted in some states by up to 98 percent within two decades as warmer waters caused physical ailments and reproductive issues for the valuable crustaceans (mean- while, Maine's cooler waters have experienced a boom in lobster catches). A 2016 NOAA study of 82 marine

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