Understanding how marine fishes respond to climate change is critical to ensure the future sustainability and resilience of fisheries. I analysed growth chronologies from the otoliths of tropical fishes to determine their response to climate change. Interannual climate variation influenced both intra-specific (life history stages and multiple populations) and inter-specific growth variations. Large-scale climate signals also led to synchronous growth patterns across taxa from different ecosystems (fishes, corals and trees) and among different fish species along the coastline of Western Australia. Climate change is likely to have simultaneous and immediate impacts on the growth and resilience of fishes.