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By Leanne Jorari in Manila, Philippines
As waters get warmer, more and more of Papua New Guinea’s Tuna stock are migrating out of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone and on towards the east of the Central Pacific Ocean.
In 2015, tuna contributed US$258 million to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Climate change is proving to be detrimental for Papua New Guinea’s tuna stock.
Research carried out by the Pacific Community (SPC) and their partners, using complex modelling, shows spatial shifts in the tuna stocks away from Papua New Guinea waters.
“So how climate change may influence sea surface temperatures, currents, primary productivity and then couple that information and produce predictions on what will happen with tuna. So we’ve gone through those processes and continue to enhance those models and try and understand what might happen in the future, said Dr John Hampton, the Head of SPC’s Oceanic Fisheries Programme.
“Generally, what we’re seeing is spatial shifts in the tuna stocks towards the East into the Central Pacific. In the case of Albacore also an expansion to the South. Some of these things are quite subtle.
It’s driven quite a lot by sea surface temperatures and how that impacts the spawning habitat of the fish but it’s also about where primary productivity occurs and how the currents might change with climate change impacts, said Dr Hampton.
Tuna is a highly migratory species and large-scale changes in ocean climate are forcing the stock out of PNG’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The effects of the El Niño weather pattern also result in eastwards displacement of tuna. So many fish are finding new homes in the waters of Kiribati.
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