Vancouver restaurants: Climate change impacting menus



Vancouver seafood lovers may notice more squid and less sockeye salmon on local menus in the near future because of climate change.


A new study out of the University of British Columbia and published in Environmental Biology of Fishes shows research looking at 362 local restaurant menus from four time periods between 1880 and 2021. 


“We set out to discover if warming waters due to climate change are already affecting what seafood restaurants serve in their menus,” said senior author Dr. William Cheung, professor and director of the UBC Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, in a news release.


“While it’s not a case of cause and effect, our findings indicate that the seas around Vancouver were warming during the studied time periods, so fish species that prefer warmer waters dominated there. It’s likely that they were more available to catch for sale, and so local seafood restaurants offered more of these types of fish.”


Humboldt squid, for example, is becoming more common in local restaurants, since the species has reached further north amid rising temperatures. Sardines are also expected to become more abundant with warmer water.


Meanwhile, researchers say sockeye salmon isn’t doing so well in B.C., which means it will be less available in the near future.


Researchers saw the most dramatic change between menus in 1981 to 1996 compared to the menus seen in 2019 to 2021.


“That’s when lots of the bigger changes in temperature occurred, and that’s also the time when some of those changes are really starting to have bigger and more obvious effects on the fish stocks,” Cheung explained.


“Climate change is already affecting everyone, not only the fishermen who are catching the fish, but the people who go to restaurants and eat fish.” 



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