Warming Indian Ocean may pose threat to global fisheries market

eNCA: 8 January 2016

A recent study published by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) has found that the amount of microscopic plants in the Indian Ocean has declined by 20 percent in the last decade, potentially destabilising the marine food chain. The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by a collaboration of authors from various international universities, led by Mathew Koll Roxy (IITM), proposed the reduction was due to surface ocean warming.

Marcello Vichi, a biogeochemistry expert and researcher who took part in the study from the University of Cape Town (UCT), explained that more data still needed to be collected. “We are not able to quantify this clearly, this is just the start. “This is what the data simulations predict, that there is a declining trend,” said Vichi.

Phytoplankton (microscopic ocean plants) form the basis of the marine food web. A decline in phytoplankton may pose a risk to the global fisheries market, explained the study, with countries along the Indian Ocean particularly vulnerable.

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