North Sea, United Kingdom

Climate Change


In the North Sea, global warming is affecting plankton and the marine food chain, compounding the pressures of overfishing. Future warming is also expected to exert a significant impact on the marine ecosystem, creating further uncertainty for the fishing industry.

  • Warming of the North Sea has affected the distribution and abundance of plankton—the foundation of the marine food chain—and shifted their seasonal cycles.
  • Changes in the plankton ecosystem linked to warmer surface temperatures have already harmed other species that rely on plankton for food, such as cod.
  • Further climate change is expected to intensify these effects on North Sea plankton, cod, and marine ecosystems7—with implications for the fishing industry and the communities that depend on it.
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