As climate change continues to affect ocean temperatures globally, scientists say the Arabian Gulf is likely to be among the areas most affected.
A study to assess the potential impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity and fisheries catches in the Arabian Gulf suggested the region could lose up to 35 percent of its species richness by 2090, relative to 2010.
“Fish stocks in Qatar, like everywhere else in the world, are not in a very healthy state,” Pedro Range, a research assistant professor at Qatar University, said. “There have been many years of very strong exploitation that’s reflected in a decline in fisheries catches in the past decade. On top of that we have the global threat of climate change.” (See a related article, “Shifting Desert Winds Could Turn Arabian Fisheries Barren.”)
Although the forecasted effects of rising temperatures in the waters off Qatar are substantial—a reduction of up to 30 percent in fisheries catches by the end of the century—Range says there are actions that can be taken now to mitigate these impacts.
Protecting Coral Habitats
In Qatar most of the fish catches come from coral habitats or coral-dominated habitats. Therefore, Qatar University researchers focus their work on protecting existing coral reefs, providing alternative marine habitats, and restoring the functions of degraded coral reefs.