World news – African Union – Global fisheries can alleviate a global food emergency in extreme cases


A new international study suggests that if managed sustainably in advance, global fisheries can alleviate food shortages even after a nuclear war

Over the past half-century, the global food production system has steadily provided a rapidly expanding population. However, unforeseen events such as war or volcanic eruptions can rapidly disrupt food production and leave grocery store shelves empty

An international study co-led by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) provides first estimates of how global ocean fisheries will be achieved after a nuclear exchange. The study included researchers from McGill University (Canada), University of Colorado Boulder, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, U.O National Center for Atmospheric Research and Rutgers University (U o)

The researchers found that although fisheries cannot compensate for the large loss of agricultural production on land, they can act as a buffer – but only if the fisheries were healthy before the food shock occurred.

“Climate model simulations showed that dust from fires in nuclear exchange would reduce global agricultural production,” explains co-lead author Sherrill Harrison, Professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, “We show here that global fish populations are also suffering from Growth decreases under these conditions, as oceans get colder and darker « Researchers estimate that a nuclear war could reduce the amount of seafood that fishing boats can bring worldwide by up to 30%

“The bright side of our results is that they show the benefits that could be achieved by having healthy fisheries before the outbreak of the nuclear war. If the fish were abundant, thanks to strong and effective measures that prevent overfishing, they could provide a huge emergency food supply for a few years.” Says Kim Shearer, co-lead author and researcher at ICTA-UAB

The results are based on the latest computer models that simulate how the effects of nuclear war spread through the Earth system. The Global Ocean Model predicts changes in ocean temperature, currents, and available sunlight, which determines the amount of food available to support fish growth. The response of global fishing fleets to each is then simulated. From the change in fish growth and changes in fish demand through a global fishing model

“If regulations are too weak to protect fish stocks before the war, there is basically no barrier,” explains Scherer. “Regardless of higher fish prices, there are no more fish to catch however, if the fish stocks are abundant. « This could serve as a food warehouse that can be temporarily withdrawn » Researchers estimate that fisheries could replace around 40% of all other animal proteins for one to two years

“Moreover, given that many fisheries are currently overexploited, a buildup of fish stocks can occur without reducing pre-war fishing,” ICTA-UAB researcher Ryan Hengan explains, it’s a win-win


Shearer, K, Harrison, Cees, Heneghan, R, Galbraith, E, et al (2020) Marine land-based fisheries after nuclear war PNAS https: // www Albanas org / cgi / doi / 101073 / BNAS 2008256117

Nuclear war, fishing, poaching, the world, nuclear weapons

World News – African Union – Global fisheries can alleviate the global food emergency in extreme situations
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