Uncertainty in future projections of global and regional marine fisheries catches
We project that total potential catches of 500 exploited fish and invertebrate stocks, that contribute most to regional fisheries catches and their variability, will likely decrease in the 21st century under a ‘business-as-usual’ greenhouse gas emission scenario (RCP8.5). Fishing and it’s management remains a main factor determining future fish stocks and their catches. Internal variability of projected ocean conditions, including temperature, oxygen level, pH, net primary production and sea ice contributes substantially to the uncertainty of potential catch projections. Regionally, climate-driven decreases in potential catches in tropical oceans and increases in the Arctic polar regions are projected with higher confidence than other regions, while the direction of changes in most mid-latitude (or temperate) regions is uncertain. Under a stringent greenhouse gas mitigation scenario (RCP 2.6), climate change impacts on potential catches may not emerge from their uncertainties. Overall, this study provides a foundation for quantifying risks of climate change impacts on marine fisheries globally and regionally, and how such risk may be altered by policy interventions.