WELLINGTON, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The effects of climate change on a staple fish in many Pacific diets is being studied in a world first trial in New Zealand.
The study at a special facility run by New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) would be the first to test the effects of increased carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on kingfish, New Zealand and Australian scientists said Thursday.
"We already know raising temperatures and changes in CO2 can have quite substantial effects on some fish, such as affecting growth, metabolism and behavior," ocean acidification specialist Professor Phil Munday, of Queensland's James Cook University, said in a statement from NIWA.
"But most of the work to date has been done on northern hemisphere species such as cod, or coral reef fish," said Munday.
"Very little is known about the effect on larger pelagic species, which could be highly susceptible, but are actually very difficult to work with. They're very hard to culture not many places in the world are able to culture them, but the NIWA team have the expertise," he said.
The research team would work with yellowtail kingfish larvae in big tanks, replicating the warmer and more acidified conditions expected at the end of the century.
"Kingfish are important not just to commercial and recreational fishers in New Zealand and Australia, people throughout the Pacific rely on these fish for their daily sustenance," said Munday.