Global Warming Jeopardizes Norway's Fish Farms
CHRISTOPHER JOYCE: Oil and gas from the North Sea have made Norway rich. But what's number two in the Norwegian economy? It's fish, especially fish farming.
JAN SAPLIND: There's a reason why we do aquaculture in Norway.
JOYCE: That's Jan Saplind, with Blue Planet, which represents fish farmers.
SAPLIND: And that's because of the climate here being perfect for doing aquaculture on these species that we raise. So, obviously, if the climate was to change, well, then, we'd be out of business.
JOYCE: Manager Bernard Ostobovik(ph) shovels steed from a bucket into the water. The fish crashed the surface. The fjord looks like it's boiling. But Ostobovik says what's in the net is actually 98 percent water and only 2 percent fish.
(SOUNDBITE OF SPLASHING WATER)
BERNARD OSTOBOVIK: We give them a lot of space. We keep the density down. We keep the net clean so that every cage gets a lot of fresh and oxygen-filled water.
JOYCE: But Jan Saplind of Blue Planet says that these threats haven't sunk in yet.
SAPLIND: We're very, very dependent on the climate staying not very much different than it is. I think people have trouble in really grasping this.
JOYCE: If the gulf stream moved, northern Europe might go into a deep freeze, severely damaging agriculture and fisheries. Most scientists now say that's probably not going to happen. That sort of scientific uncertainty, says Gunner Eskeland of the research organization CICERO, leaves people guessing.
GUNNER ESKELAND: People say it will be unpredictable. Of course, it will be unpredictable. And we shouldn't expect that we will know everything. And that's why we should be careful.
JOYCE: Grete Hovelsrud is a researcher with CICERO.
GRETE HOVELSRUD: People say, well, we've always adapted. But now there is a shift. We try to understand where does the responsibility for adaptation lie.
JOYCE: Christopher Joyce, NPR News.
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