Climate change pushes fish toward the poles, leaving poorer countries closer to the Equator with less vital natural resources.
A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Climate Change revealed that species are migrating away from temperate zones and toward the planet’s North and South poles as global temperatures rise.
The team of researchers said that the changing migration patterns of fish will probably raise inequality between the world’s wealthy and disadvantaged. Fish is a critical food source for millions of people around the globe and climate change is threatening the crucial natural resource for the poor.
Study author Malin Pinsky, a marine biologist, said in a statement that the situation changes who gets access to fish and other natural resources, since the wealthier areas usually are in cooler regions closer to the poles.
The research was conducted by U.S. biologists from Rutgers University, Princeton University, Yale University and Arizona State University. The authors used data on fish migration patterns, as well as a mathematical formula that enabled them to track the movement of natural resources and shifts in wealth.
Climate change will have great effects on global wealth and could cause global destabilization
Lead author Eli Finichel, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, said that the fish migration toward the poles will inevitably result in an increase of prices in places where stocks are scarce, meaning an extra problem in developing countries.
Finichel remarked that price impacts could be significant and pointed out that a lot will depend on resource management and fishing regulations.
“People are mostly focused on the physical reallocation of these assets, but I don’t think we’ve really started thinking enough about how climate change can reallocate wealth and influence the prices of those assets,” said Fenichel.
He added that his research team cannot predict how the phenomenon will unfold, but stressed that prices will reflect quantity and scarcity, as consequence as inevitable as the migration of the key fish species.
The study authors said that the findings reveal how urgent it is the need for crucial climate policies that integrate both biophysical and social measurements in order to reduce the negative impact of global warming on poorer communities.
They concluded that those who lose natural resources will lose more than the gainers will gain, which can result in a global destabilization because people will end up migrating towards where the wealth is.