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19 Aug 2021, 13:37
Sören Amelang

Climate change and overfishing decimate Baltic cod, recovery unlikely – researchers

Clean Energy Wire

Stocks of Baltic cod, a popular white fish, have collapsed due to overfishing and climate change and are unlikely to recover, researchers have said. Western Baltic cod, once a mainstay of German and Polish fisheries, is beyond a tipping point caused by unsustainable exploitation levels that failed to account for changing environmental conditions, the team led by Christian Möllmann from Hamburg University concluded in a paper published in Scientific Reports last month. "Furthermore, climate change stabilises a novel and likely irreversible low productivity state of this fish stock that is not adapted to a fast warming environment," the paper states. "Given that global climate change and warming of the Baltic Sea will continue, a recovery of the cod stock would require low fishing pressures over a long time, allowing for a slow rebuilding."

The study was widely covered by German media. "Baltic Sea fishery is facing a huge upheaval – and for consumers, too, the standard fish from the German Baltic Sea coast may no longer be available in the future," said an article in Spiegel Online.

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