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TEAM IRELAND U16/U21
Philip Griffen
Doing it all wrong Dad
Alan & Jamie
SHARK
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BARRY
GERRY
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Ladies

NO COD AND CHIPS

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NO COD AND CHIPS

Post by Admin on Mon 17 Nov - 17:48

REPORT FROM SUNDAY TIMES ON LINE
November 16, 0008
Cod to take a battering as seas warm
Climate change threatens to rob chippies of Irish customers’ favourite fish
Jan Battles

Cod and chips, a staple of take-aways throughout Ireland, could be the next victim of global warming.

Because the seas around Ireland are heating up due to climate change, salmon and cod, two of the most popular fish, could become a rarity.

Depleted stocks would also affect Irish fishermen, who landed more than €5m of cod last year. Temperature recordings from Malin Head observatory in Donegal have found the Atlantic Ocean is half a degree warmer than expected.

“Warming has been particularly strong during the past decade, with the warmest four years on record being 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2003,” said Glenn Nolan of the Marine Institute.

The seawater surface temperature in the Atlantic rises and falls naturally over a cycle of about 60 years, according to a phenomenon known as the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Even though it is now in a warm phase, data from the past 50 years record an extra rise.

“We have data going back to 1958, and over the 50-year period there’s been an increase of about 0.9 of a degree,” said Nolan. “About half of that is the natural variability in the cycle. The other half is probably attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.”

Nolan heads up the marine climate change research programme, funded by the government. Started last December, it is due to run for seven years. Data are being analysed at the institute’s headquarters at Oranmore, Co Galway.

The aim is to make sense of what has been going on in our seas over the past 50 years, to assess what is happening today and to produce forecasts of what is expected to happen in the future. The research involves monitoring around the coast of Ireland and further out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Already some worrying trends in the data are starting to emerge. As well as the temperature increase, the amount of salt in the sea has been rising since the mid-1990s. This increase affects the types of microscopic plant species or tiny plankton found.

The Marine Institute says the warmer and saltier conditions — which are slowly making the Atlantic more like the Mediterranean — are having a gradual but profound effect on the marine life and plants.

Records from the Marine Institute’s annual stock survey of commercial species show a gradual decline in cold-water species such as cod, and an increasing abundance of warmer-water species.

Long-term changes in the temperature and salt content of the seas around Ireland may force native species into deeper, colder waters and replace them with varieties that prefer warmer water, such as sea bass, red mullet and john dory.

According to Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Irish fisheries board, fresh salmon represents 45% of the overall market share in Ireland, while cod accounts for 11%. In 2007, €5.3m of cod was landed at Irish ports, according to figures from the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority.

The Central Fishing Board says there has been a decline in survival rates of salmon during the marine phase of their lives, which may be related to warming. “They were surviving better 20 years ago, 10 years ago even, but it is declining since,” said a board spokesman. [u]
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