TV3 reporter Annabelle Tukia wrote the following article for TV3 news. It was reported more or less verbatim on the nightly news bulletin.
The impact of climate change on New Zealand mussels looks set to cost more than 200 Christchurch workers their jobs.
Sanford has told staff at its processing facility in Riccarton not enough mussels are growing to justify keeping the plant open – and it’s blaming a change in the weather pattern.
Sanford bosses called all staff into a meeting at 1pm to deliver the news, telling them it’s planning to move all mussel processing to the company’s other factory in Marlborough.
Chief executive Volker Kunztsch says at the moment there’s just not enough mussels to keep both plants running – a factor he’s blaming on weather patterns and warmer water temperatures around the top of the South Island.
He’s estimating production will be down about 25 percent on last year.
“With really poor spat supplies, spat being small mussels that usually wash up then we put them on lines over two to three years – and this has been very poor this year – we’ve realised that this outlook is rather dim,” says Mr Kunztsch.
I looked elsewhere to see if I could find verification of the claim that climate change is behind the event. I couldn’t find it. I did find news articles saying the climate hasn’t warmed for at all for many years. I also found articles attributing the warmer water to normal weather patterns associated with the El Nino effect.
I also found a Scientific American article dated October 2014 that stated “Sea surface temperatures over the last decade have essentially been at a standstill, which is a problem, since the ocean warms from the top down. So, it would appear, global warming has paused.”
I found an extremely sober and scientific article on the same subject (mussel factory closure) on the Fish Site, and it doesn’t mention climate change.
Weather is not the same as climate change, and one would assume that the brains trust at TV3 would know this. Why then would they try and tie the shut down of the mussel factory to climate change?
I asked Annabelle Tukia and TV3 via Twitter to explain how the made the connection and if they had any scientific verification for their claim.
They didn’t reply.