The Last Generation of Trout Anglers

An abridged article from USA’s “Hatch “ magazine ‘on-line’

by Chris Hunt of USA’s ‘Trout Unlimited’

Scientists the world over have gushed enough terrifying data on the perils that accompany human-induced climate change over the last decade to where many across the globe are now numb to it. 
Rising sea levels? Got it. 
More frequent and more severe storms? Check. 
Longer droughts? Understood. 
Ocean acidification? Uh huh.
Sadly, wilful political and on-the-ground inaction on climate change continues.
What about the trout? What does climate change have in store for them? And for those of us who pursue them? The latest scientific data offers this notion:
The last generation of trout anglers might very well be wandering around in diapers today.
Here’s hoping this coming generation of fishers isn’t forced to give up the pursuit simply because the trout aren’t there to pursue.
Sliver of Hope
If we continue on the course we’re on today—if we continue to emit carbon at today’s rate into the atmosphere for the foreseeable future—nearly half of the suitable habitat for all species of trout will be lost to climate change by the 2080s. That isn’t a “doom-and-gloom” scenario meant to frighten us into action. It’s data, based on research conducted by a host of scientists for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
There remains a sliver of hope, but only if we act. If we are to protect the country—and the planet—from the worst impacts of a changing climate, the time to act is now. It’s time to stand up and realise just what course we’re on, and what kind of world we’re about to deposit at the feet of our toddlers-turned-trout-anglers.
As the government’s new report reads, “Future risks from climate change depend primarily on decisions made today.” 
And the solutions are largely known, starting with a steady, yet rapid, reduction in carbon emissions and a significant investment in climate-resilient infrastructure. The latter likely won’t help our trout streams, which are already warming beyond comfort levels for our cold-water loving salmonids. But the former can slow the progression a warming world and perhaps give us time to restore and arm our trout watersheds for what’s to come.
And that’s where “hope” comes in. More recently released science offers optimism that the work many in the fisheries world are already doing is helping capture carbon and make trout water more impervious to a warming world. 
Action vital
There is, indeed hope. But that hope lies in action. While some are doing good work to make the planet more resilient to a warming world, others must take on the task of meshing science and politics and put the world on a course correction. In other words, we must do something.
If we don’t, our children and grandchildren — and the trout we love — aren’t going to like it.
Chris Hunt is the national digital director from Trout Unlimited. He lives and works in Idaho Falls.
Hatch Magazine’s independent conservation journalism depends on the support of readers like you. Please consider becoming a Hatch Magazine sustaining member by making a small monthly or one time donation. Your contribution will help fund more of the in-depth coverage you’ve come to trust.

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7 Responses to The Last Generation of Trout Anglers

  1. Ken Sims says:

    There is much to be done!
    In 1991 NZ promised to cut emissions 20%. By 2017 NZ had raised its emissions over 60%. This is not an ‘over there’ problem.

  2. Charles Henry says:

    I wonder how trout in the Northern Hemisphere survived the Medieval Warm Period? A time when Vikings settled in Greenland. Since it is these same Northern Hemisphere trout introduced to New Zealand, they must be pretty resilient to temperature fluctuations – From The Roman Optimum thru The Little Ice Age and on to today.

    There are many interpretations of current climatic conditions, outside of the UN IPCC. Indeed even the IPCC state that their reports are full of doubt.

    As an alternate to the ridiculed hockey stick, Esper et al. 2012 has this to say about the past 2,000 years:

    Reconstruction “shows a succession of warm and cold episodes including peak warmth during Roman and Medieval times alternating with severe cool conditions centred in the fourth and fourteenth centuries.” The warmest 30-year period was A.D. 21-50, which was 1.05°C warmer than the mean temperature for 1951-1980 and ~0.5°C warmer than the region’s maximum 20th century warmth, which occurred during 1921-1950.

    See also

    Far too many dissenting voices not to be heard above the shrills of the media – but then again panic and threat sells now doesn’t it

    • Ken Sims says:

      How wonderful to have a contribution from someone who is more knowledgeable on the subject than 1000’s of the worlds climate scientists, not to mention our own experts in the Ministry for the Environment! Wow!

      But the graph you displayed was incomplete. Allow me to remedy that. It will put your comments in perspective.

      • Charles Henry says:

        Love the graph Ken, not certain of your source, but does look so much like the highly discredited Michael Mann “Hockey Stick” – literally thrown out of Court when Mann lost his defamation case against Dr Tim Ball. Below is a comparison to assist the differences between these two academics.
        But science is never settled by consensus.
        Is the earth flat (OK some still believe)? The Greeks disproved that.
        Galileo found out the hard way his heliocentric universe went against accepted “consensus” and was found guilty by the inquisition. He spent the rest of his days under house arrest.
        Germs did not exist, but pioneer Pasteur proved every one of the “experts” and their consensus wrong.
        Newton invented gravity, but it took a telegraph operator to come up with something better. We know him as Einstein. Thank him for GPS, or visiting the Moon.
        But Einstein found Quantum Theory “spooky”, yet here we are with many parts of it being proved correct – especially now we have a “God” particle.

        The late Michael Crichton, MD, author, film producer, put it this way:

        “I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

        “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

        “There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s science, it isn’t consensus. Period.

        “In addition, let me remind you that the track record of the consensus is nothing to be proud of”

        (From a talk at the California Institute of Technology on January 17, 2003, printed in Three Speeches by Michael Crichton, SPPI Commentary & Essay Series, 2009.)

        Sadly, Climate Science has belittled the whole arena, with the long accepted Peer Review process reduced to “Pal Review” by these self-acclaimed “experts”. Have you read the “Climategate” emails?

        “… science depends for its progress on continual challenges to the current state of always imperfect knowledge. Science would provide better value to politics if it articulated the broadest set of plausible interpretations, options and perspectives, imagined by the best experts, rather than forcing convergence to an allegedly unified voice.”

        • Ken Sims says:

          By ‘highly discredited Michael Mann’ I assume that you refer to Dr. Michael E Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI) and director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC). Internationally respected climatologist and the recipient of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. The guy who took climate change deniers to court and made them apologize.

          Mate, you are full of it.

          Thanks, but I’ll listen to the scientists, not charlatans.

  3. Rex N. Gibson says:

    a truly informative and even offering a sliver of hope. He is dead right with asking about future generations. A good read
    Tim Neville

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