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L&rsquo ;éoceans could accentuate food insecurity in coastal communities

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According to the study, in low-income countries, the availability of these nutrients could decrease by 10% to 30% compared to the 2000s, depending on global warming scenarios. Higher-income countries will also be affected, although overall they will be more likely to adapt, according to William Cheung.

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Overfishing and anthropogenic global warming are expected to accentuate disparities in access to marine nutrients across the world by the end of the century, according to a study. In Canada, coastal communities could be disproportionately affected.

How will the availability of fish stocks, and therefore the nutrients that make them up, evolve by 2100 on a global scale and, above all, how will the populations who sometimes depend on them for their food be affected by these changes?

William Cheung, director and principal investigator of the Ocean Change Research Unit at the University of British Columbia (UBC), explored these questions with a group of researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC). Lancaster, England. They recently published their results (New window) (in English) in the journal Nature Climate Change, as part of an international study.

Many communities around the world depend on fish and molluscs for their food, as William Cheung points out. These animals are rich in protein, but also in calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids, considered essential for health.

Using several databases, the researchers projected the geographic availability of these four nutrients by 2100 under different global warming scenarios. /p>LoadingGaza bombed again, growing concern in a hospital taken by storm

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According to their results, tropical and lower-income regions of The planet is expected to face a greater reduction in access to these nutrients. Even in countries like Canada, where these projections don't look as alarming on a national scale, coastal populations will be disproportionately affected, says William Cheung.

Bordered by three oceans, Canada has a large number of coastal communities for which food insecurity is already a problem, adds the researcher. They will also be able to rely less on imports of marine species from elsewhere to compensate for the decline of local species.

When we look at the average of countries internationally, Canada is doing better [in our projections] than island states, for example. But we still have vulnerable communities that urgently need to be helped to adapt to climate change, explains William Cheung.

< p class="Text-sc-2357a233-1 imohSo">Canada is a big country. In Vancouver or in cities, we will experience these effects differently than in communities on the coasts, or even in the Arctic.

A quote from William Cheung, Director and Principal Investigator, UBC Ocean Change Research Unit

On the central coast of British Columbia, the Heiltsuk community of Bella Bella is already experiencing the consequences of the decline of marine species. It is 100% dependent on these resources, as evidenced by William Housty, general manager of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department, which manages the resources of the Heiltsuk First Nation.

For the last five to six decades, we have seen a state of decline in all resources. This is very critical. Some species are being decimated to the point of extinction, he says.

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For William Housty, even if Canada, thanks to its geographical position, could benefit from south-north migration, it does not It is not certain that these species will find a suitable habitat, further north, to develop.

This decline goes well beyond the nutritional and food impact, he points out, because coastal communities rely entirely on these resources for their culture and economy. If salmon and herring are taken away from us, many aspects of our lives are taken away. And there's not much hope for them right now.

The situation is serious. From above, the ocean looks fine. But when you look at what's going on underneath, it's not at all.

A quote from William Housty, Director General of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department

For William Cheung, the fishing industry must adapt to be more sustainable and take more nutrients into account.

Among the causes of the decline of these marine nutrients on a global scale, we find the overexploitation of certain species. This is the case for 35.4% of these stocks worldwide, while 57.3% are exploited in a maximum sustainable manner, according to a 2022 FAO report (New window).

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The creation of protected marine areas can also be a solution to alleviate the pressure on certain species and give them an opportunity to develop, specifies William Housty, which also implies that 'they are well supervised.

These species have greater value in the ocean than on our plates. They have a more important meaning than exploitation for food. They play a role in ecosystems.

A quote from William Housty, Director General of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department

Ocean warming, due to our greenhouse gas emissions, also affects the distribution of species, which move deeper and poleward into cooler waters.

The authors of the study therefore also call for limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. It's not a question of doing one or the other, [adaptation or mitigation]: we have to do both anyway, concludes William Cheung.

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