The Cornish sardine fishery features in a powerful new documentary highlighting the stark reality of the impact of climate change on the fishing industry, and the previously underrecognised role of sustainable seafood in climate policy.
Fishing for solutions – the climate catastrophe: the time for action is now, is a Farelight Productions creation, commissioned by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) - the not-for-profit responsible for the world’s largest sustainable seafood certification programme.
As well as providing first-hand accounts of the impact of climate change on fishermen across the globe, the film contains a powerful rallying call to policy makers to tackle the causes of climate change, and agree adaptive, resilient solutions for managing shared fishery resources in the face of profound climate driven shifts in ocean ecosystems.
Gus Caslake, from the Cornish Sardine Management Association and Seafish regional south west advisor, says in the film that due to the information that fishermen collect they have got a strong understanding of changing conditions.
“The fishermen are in a unique position to collect that type of data,” he said. “They collect samples of their catches on a weekly basis. They not only measure the catch, they also weigh the catch. So we’ve got an understanding of what is happening year on year.”
He added: “Whatever fish you are catching temperature is key. The other difference we have seen is the rise in tides. The tidal range seems to be a lot higher now. If you have a low pressure in some of the harbours particularly around Cornwall, we get flooding on a regular basis now which we didn’t see ten or fifteen years ago.
“It’s very difficult for fisheries managers to set a level of catch when you’ve got new species coming into an area. We’re seeing a movement in warm water species coming in.”
Katie Keay, MSC UK & Ireland senior fisheries outreach manager, said: “The distribution of these species is changing at the moment and some of that is likely to be climate-change related resulting in some stocks being overfished or at risk of being overfished.”