Climate change is having an impact on all life in the oceans. This is because it is affecting all levels of the food chain. When the simple organisms that others feed on become ill or die off, the ripple effect can be devastating.
Coral bleaching is one example of this. The bleaching signals that necessary symbiotic organisms have been shed, and the coral will die. Plankton, too, are affected. If fewer phytoplankton are producing oxygen, the future of all life on Earth may be in jeopardy.
For saltwater reef fish such as the angelfish, climate change is already having an impact. These species are being found much farther north than they used to be. As rabbitfish and other herbivorous fish migrate away from the environments they are accustomed to, they are wreaking havoc on kelp forests farther north. They disrupt the lush plant life protecting animals such as abalone. As abalone have become more vulnerable, their numbers are dwindling.
The future, however, may well be bright. Organizations such as ACM Group (Australian Conservation Monitoring Group) exist to hold accountable the social, ethical and environmental activities of business operating in our country as well as local and federal government and their policies in Australia. Plenty of innovative solutions designed to forge partnerships with private businesses are being formulated. For lovers of fish and the ocean, this issue is one to watch.