U.S. Leaders: Protect Our Oceans from Climate Change

The ocean is an amazing place full of creatures that are critical parts of our planet. In particular, the vast number of fish species are key members of the ocean ecosystem and are important for human consumption, livelihood, and recreation. Unfortunately, one of the often-overlooked dangers of climate change is the negative impacts on our oceans. As oceans warm, fish populations suffer, threatening not only the biodiversity of the seas but also the coastal communities that rely on them.

The U.S. has already done a lot to protect fisheries and has some of the best management systems in the world. We have successfully brought back many fish stocks from overfished levels, but now we need to protect them in a changing climate. Elected officials need to take this seriously and propose solutions that will keep our oceans healthy, especially if they want to be taken seriously as climate champions.

Climate change has already caused a decrease in fish populations and is driving down productivity of global fisheries. Fisheries have declined by more than 4 percent since 1930, with some fisheries shrinking by as much as 35 percent. Warming waters cause fish to move to cooler areas, disrupting regular fishing patterns and threatening ecosystems. Additionally, ocean acidification is weakening shells and corals that provide important food and habitat. This decline in fish populations and disruption of critical ocean areas have and will pose severe challenges to the 10 percent of people globally who depend on fish for their livelihoods and the more than 4 billion people who rely on fish for healthy protein. 

If we don’t take action to protect our oceans now, we could lose a huge part of what makes our oceans awe-inspiring, as well as a critical source of food and livelihood for people in the U.S. and globally.

Americans have a vested interest in protecting oceans from climate change, and every candidate running for President of the United States should show their commitment to protecting American fisheries from the impacts of a changing ocean. As candidates roll out climate plans, they must take fisheries and oceans into account.

Mighty Earth is calling on presidential candidates, as well as current elected leaders that are in a position to take action on climate and fisheries, to protect oceans and keep fisheries strong as part of their climate action plans.

Join us! Sign the petition.

Photo credit: USFWS/Jerry Reid