Climate change is disrupting the sensory systems of fish and can even make them swim towards predators, instead of away from them, say researchers.
These abnormal behaviours are linked to the effect of carbon dioxide (CO2) on how the brain processes signals from sensory organs, according to the study published in the journal Global Change Biology.
The researchers showed that farmed fish often live in CO2 conditions 10 times higher than their wild cousins.
"Our research will allow fish farmers to optimise conditions, and specifically CO2 levels, to improve growth and health of their fish, profitability and the long-term sustainability of the industry," said one of the researchers, Rod Wilson, climate-change marine biologist at the University of Exeter in England.
"This is really important given that aquaculture is the only way we will increase seafood production to feed the growing human population, particularly given wild fish stocks are over exploited," Wilson noted.
The scientists believe that further study of farmed fish -- which already provides as much seafood for human consumption as that caught in the wild -- may be crucial for understanding how aquatic species will evolve to climate change.