Now yes, OK, co are indeed sensitive to water temperature, most especially at spawning time.
The prospect of cod returning to levels where it is can once again be the staple of fish and chips looks gloomier than ever in the wake of a study of the impact of climate change.
The world\’s cod fisheries are disappearing fast, with a global catch that declined from 3.1 million tons in 1970 to 950,000 in 2000. If such a trend continued, the world\’s cod stocks would disappear in 15 years, by some estimates.
Today a study suggests that it is going to be hard for stocks of the fish to recover quickly. As the favourable areas for the fish move north as a result of warming, then the species could be in trouble.
So yes, I would expect climate change to have an effect on the cod populations.
However, that\’s as nothing compared to the idiocies of our current fisheries policies. It\’s rather a mote and beam problem: we still run fisheries as a hunter gatherer industry, still insist that the Commons problem remains unsolved. For example, I\’ve seen figures which insist that we throw back, dead, into the ocean, more cod from the North Sea than we land, as a result of the Common Fisheries Policy. The first thing we have to do is solvethat, in the way that Norway, Iceland and the Faroes have done, by making the right to the fish an asset, one owned by the fishermen.
Only after we\’ve dealt with that major part of the problem should we start to worry about what more minor effect climate change might have.