22 Apr 2015

Warmer seas 'will change fishing industry'

7:33 pm on 22 April 2015

A fisheries expert believes warming sea temperatures will change the way the industry looks in years to come.

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Photo: 123RF

One of the country's biggest fisheries companies, Sanford, has closed its Christchurch mussel processing factory, blaming rising ocean temperatures for cutting the mussel yield in the upper South Island.

Temperatures in the Tasman have already risen one and a half degrees in the past 70 years.

And experts believe temperatures off the Southland coast could rise by up to 2 degrees.

A marine biologist at Victoria University Matthew Dunn said if temperatures continued to increase the industry would need to adapt.

"If things get warmer you might expect that whole distribution to shift, so we've seen more warm water stuff coming down and more cold water stuff disappearing. The cold water stuff includes some of the big ones, that's hoki, and hake and ling and squid," he said.

"So the message for the industry or message for someone investing in this is don't put all your eggs in one basket."

He said more research was needed to be done to fully understand the changes.