The future of fishing fever looks uncertain, as oceans for warming kill young fish and transmit the remaining populations to smaller areas, according to a new study.
Up to 60 per cent less are expected to be hatched in key fishing areas around Iceland and Norway, if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels, according to a team of researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany.
Because these cold fish are drifting further north, they will also be affected by the oceans that will turn acidic because excess CO2 from the atmosphere dissolves in the water, writes in their findings published in the journal Progress in science.
After a warning by the United Nations (UN) that world leaders should step up their climate, scientists behind recent research say that only the most stringent targets for global warming will stabilize fever populations.
Until recently, the stock of North Sea lawns were in danger of being wiped out by a fall of more than 80 per cent in four decades.
Since then, efforts to cope with excessive fishing have led to a gradual recovery.
The fish was marked as sustained by the Council for Marine Care last year for the first time in 20 years.
However, climate change is now another major challenge for global fish stocks, and hundreds of species are expected to be forced northward in search of cooler waters.
Fever in particular should be darkened at temperatures approaching freezing in order to develop their eggs properly.
By combining their expertise in the development of fish with climate models, scientists behind this latest study predict rates of survival for cod fever.
"They show that the conditions for young Atlantic fever will particularly worsen in the North Atlantic at the end of this century," said lead author Fleming Dahle. "In the regions around Iceland and Norway, up to 60 percent fewer larvae of fever will emerge from their eggs."
Fish are particularly sensitive in these early stages, and even minor changes in temperature can cause eggs to die or cause deformities in larvae.
Polar fever is particularly susceptible to temperature change. They already live on the extreme north and therefore there will be no where to migrate like oceans warm. Meanwhile, their Atlantic cousins can no longer retreat north of the Arctic Circle by 2100.
Despite their gloomy predictions, scientists have found that if global warming is limited to 1.5C above the preindustrial level, the more ambitious goal set by the Paris Climate Agreement, most of the harmful effects of fever can be avoided.