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Will climate change spell the end for North Sea cod?

Warming and increased ocean acidity could dramatically affect wild cod populations.

The future of cod fisheries looks uncertain as warming oceans kill young fish and drive remaining populations into ever smaller areas, according to a new study, reports The Independent.

Time to bang down the door on climate change

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Up to 60 percent fewer fish are expected to hatch in key fishing grounds around Iceland and Norway if greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels, the team of researchers from The Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven, Germany, suggested.

As these cold-loving fish are pushed further north, they will also be hit by oceans turning acidic as excess CO2 from the atmosphere dissolves in the water, they wrote in their findings published in the journal Science Advances.

Until recently, stocks of North Sea cod were in danger of being wiped out after numbers plummeted by more than 80 percent in four decades. Since then, efforts to tackle overfishing have led to a gradual recovery.

The fish was labelled as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) last year for the first time in 20 years.

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