A Black Marlin Fishery for Gippsland? 16.12


Black Marlin

I have recently been blogging on examples of species moving polewards in response to a warming planet as per the predictions in the CSIRO publication by Holper & Torok Climate Change (2008) where species (presumably land based but not specified) were moving southwards at a rate of 6km per decade. An article sent to me recently notes that the Black Marlin (Istiopmax indica) are moving southwards at a far greater rate.

The article by Bridge, Tobin and Reside noted that the “coastal waters of south-eastern Australia are a climate change hotspot, warming at a rate three to four times the global average. This is in part due to an increase in the strength and southward penetration of the East Australian Current (EAC), which carries warm water from the tropics down Australia’s east coast” and significantly “also identified a strong effect of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with black marlin habitat extending up to 300km further south during La Niña phases.” 

Bridge et al concluded: “We found that [their] habitat is shifting faster during summer months (111km per decade) in contrast to the rest of the year (77km per decade). This suggests that suitable habitat is extending south quicker than it is contracting at its northern edge.” This means the Black Marlin – a prized trophy fish – may already be in the ocean waters of Gippsland. Unfortunately we cannot “cherry pick” the few pieces of ‘good news’ associated with global warming. For every benefit we derive from the warming there is a long list on the downside. If not arrested in the coming decades, climate change threatens the downfall of civilisation. For further information on the Black Marlin story go to