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Study: Fish sizes to shrink dramatically as climate and oceans warm

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Warmer ocean temperatures and an ever-escalating global climate will cause fish to shrink dramatically over the next 40 years, according to research published Sunday in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.

Using “high emissions” scenarios developed by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists with the University of British Columbia created a model to predict how oxygen levels and water temperature affects the growth of more than 600 species of fish.

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What they found was shocking: “Marine fish are generally known to respond to climate change through changing distribution and seasonality,” William Cheung, the study’s lead author, said in prepared text. “But the unexpectedly big effect that climate change could have on body size suggests that we may be missing a big piece of the puzzle of understanding climate change effects in the ocean.”

Because fish tend to have a higher metabolism in warmer water, and because warmer water offers fish less oxygen, the research predicts fish will not only move to cooler areas but their actual development into adulthood would be affected because their bodies cannot fully mature.

“We show that assemblage-averaged maximum body weight is expected to shrink by 14–24% globally from 2000 to 2050 under a high-emission scenario,” researchers explained. “About half of this shrinkage is due to change in distribution and abundance, the remainder to changes in physiology.”

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in 2010 that about 53 percent of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited, while about 32 percent are already overexploited and in decline. That’s thanks to human populations over-fishing at a rate nearly three times what the ocean can replenish, which supplies at least 15 percent of the annual protein intake for more than 3 billion people.

“A warmer and less-oxygenated ocean, as predicted under climate change, would make it more difficult for bigger fish to get enough oxygen, which means they will stop growing sooner,” study co-author Daniel Pauly added.

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Without drastic action to curb emissions that cause climate change, not only will fish size be disrupted, but changes to the ocean ecosystems may also disrupt the human food chain and cause mass migrations away from coastal areas as people search for food and jobs elsewhere.

The U.N. Security Council warned in 2011 that climate-driven resource scarcity may soon become a primary source of human conflicts, but an effective international response could prevent worst-case scenarios.
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Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

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2020 Election

Ivanka Trump buried for her COVID-19 advice during the packed Mt Rushmore rally: ‘What a clown’

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First daughter Ivanka Trump was thoroughly raked over the coals late Friday night after she posted advice on Twitter about wearing masks at the same time that her father, Donald Trump, was holding a rally at Mt. Rushmore before a crowd of shoulder-to-shoulder fans, few of whom were wearing masks.

Making things worse, within minutes of Ivanka's tweet it was announced that Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign official and girlfriend of Don Trump Jr., tested positive for the coronavirus.

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2020 Election

Donald Trump is the 21st-century Jefferson Davis– and history will judge him

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On Friday, Donald Trump and his wife Melania attended an early Independence Day celebration held at Mount Rushmore.

This article first appeared on Salon.

There were fireworks, a military flyover, and "patriotic" songs such as "The Star-Spangled Banner".

The entire spectacle embodied the worst kind of superficial juvenile patriotism.

More than 130,000 Americans are dead from the coronavirus pandemic. The country teeters on the edge of a second Great Depression. A neofascist regime rules in Washington. Donald Trump is in thrall to Vladimir Putin and Russia and in doing so actively betrays the United States and the American people.

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‘We will not be silenced’: Trump accuses racial justice protesters of trying to wipe out ‘our’ history at Mount Rushmore

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US President Donald Trump bemoaned protests demanding racial justice as "violent mayhem" Friday, but said little about an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases as he attended a crowded, fireworks-studded Independence Day celebration beneath majestic Mount Rushmore.

Trump, under fire for his response to America's spiraling coronavirus caseload four months before the presidential election, spoke on the eve of the July 4th celebrations before thousands of closely-packed people -- many of whom chanted "Four more years;" few of whom were wearing masks.

In the shadow of four notable predecessors -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, whose likenesses are carved into a granite cliff in South Dakota's Black Hills -- the president called on supporters to defend America's "integrity".

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