Global warming increasingly affects fish stocks, which will eventually result to global wealth’s destabilisation, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change . The study, conducted by researchers at Yale, Rutgers, Princeton, and Arizona State universities , warns that climate change is more than just a problem of physics and biology.  Global warming will also widen the gap between the rich and the poor, hence, climate policies should also consider the global change’s effects on wealth reallocation.

Lead author Eli Fenichel, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, explains that altering fish prices reflect quantity and scarcity. The research team simulated the effects of climate change on fish populations in two fishing communities, the Northport and Southport. The number of fish in Southport will decline while Northport’s fish stock increases, an occurrence that mirrors the changes expected in mid-Atlantic, New England and eastern US.



However, once fish quantity increases in the northern community, the local resources will devalue, especially if people in that area could not manage their resources well. Fenichel clarifies that the losers will lose more than what the gainers are gaining, exacerbating the inequality in wealth reallocation.

“We tend to think of climate change as just a problem of physics and biology,” says co-author Malin Pinsky, an assistant professor at Rutgers. “But people react to climate change as well, and at the moment we don’t have a good understanding for the impacts of human behaviour on natural resources affected by climate change.”

“It [the study] also points to a greater need for the physical sciences and social sciences to be done in a coordinated fashion,” Fenichel asserts. “As much as scientists are doing lots of wonderful multidisciplinary research, I don’t know that we’re necessarily collecting the kinds of data, in a coordinated fashion, that will inform the emerging metrics of sustainability.”