The ocean changes happening are so severe that they have caught the attention of people outside of the scientific community. In the hills above Blenheim, where wineries and pine plantations are found, trucks drove up and down during January. These trucks made 160 trips from the coast to the hills and back carrying tonnes of king salmon, the most expensive type of salmon. Unfortunately, due to the rising temperatures, many fish died last year at Marlborough fish farms, causing New Zealand King Salmon, the country’s largest salmon producer, to close some farms. The CEO of the company, Grant Rosewarne, said they posted a loss and were surprised by the rapid speed at which climate change was occurring. Rising ocean temperatures are negatively affecting some of the most lucrative sectors of the seawater industry, such as marine fisheries, resulting in a rise in seafood prices.
As the climate continues to warm, marine heatwaves are predicted to double by the end of this century. The changes in the ocean have affected how animals behave and live, causing them to migrate to different areas in search of cooler waters and food. Blue whales, for example, have been forced to migrate hundreds of kilometres south.
However, some places, like the Hauraki Gulf, have been feeding grounds for blue whales long before humans arrived. Unfortunately, the heat has made it increasingly difficult for animals to survive, especially those that cannot move like whales. The changes in the ocean are terrifying for the future of New Zealand’s marine life and the people who rely on it.