Global Warming and North Atlantic Fisheries: Attempting to Assess the Economic Impact

Ragnar Árnason


Substantial global warming due to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere has been predicted for some time. These predictions are corroborated several sophisticated meteorological models. By the year 2100 these models predict global temperature increases of between 2 and 4.5°C. It is clear that a temperature increase of this magnitude will have a major environmental impact, which might be most significant in Northern latitudes where temperature increases are predicted to be significantly higher than the global average. This paper examines the possible impact of global warming on the fish stocks in the North Atlantic and their contribution to the economy of Iceland, Greenland and Norway. It is found that the impact of global warming on the most valuable fish stocks is more likely to be positive than negative. Moreover, even if it turns out to be negative, the long-term impact on the Icelandic and Norwegian economies is unlikely to be significant. In the case of Greenland the economic impact is even more likely to be positive and might easily be quite significant.


Global warming; gdp; fish stocks; fisheries.


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O13; Q20; Q22



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