The distribution of cod and the climate change – The example of West Greenland:
Living at the northern boundary of his geographic distribution range in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, cod is very sensitive to temperature changes in the surrounding waters. Significant warming during the 1920s led to increasing cod stocks off West Greenland.
Heavy exploitation of the stocks, especially during the 1950s and 1960s, however, led to near-extinction of this valuable ocean resource. Despite the scientific advice to the managers – i.e. the Greenland government – based on decades of scientific research in Greenland waters, the advice to protect the white hope of the cod stocks – the 2003 year class – was not followed.
When Greenland authorities saw the results of not following scientific advice, they reacted, however, on short term: the offshore fishery on cod off West Greenland was stopped in November 2009. Whether this will help the cod stocks in these waters, future will tell.