NOAA raising new alarms on effects of climate change on East Coast fisheries
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Standard Times by Steve Urbon - December 29, 2014 -
NEW BEDFORD — If you're still a climate change denier even at this point, it's probably best if you don't talk to anyone with any knowledge of ocean climate and fisheries management in the Northeast.
That's because these researchers are throwing themselves headlong into the questions of what is going on out there and what, if anything, we can possibly do about it. And they are sounding alarms.
This year, the arrival of spring temperatures was among the earliest times recorded in the last 30 years. By 2100, the data point to a consistent three to four week shift in the arrival of the summer season, and the same amount added to the other end. The fall transition that's now in November will shift to December.
These changes are already having side effects. Cold water fish populations such as cod are moving toward the poles and warmer water species are moving north to replace them. And the annual spring phytoplankton bloom, which is essential to feed millions of organisms, has become shorter and less productive.
Before his retirement from UMass Dartmouth, Dr. Brian Rothschild left fisheries regulators with the sobering thought that maybe this is a problem beyond our current ability to solve. I'm sure he shares with me the wish that these scientists, at NOAA and UMass, will prove him wrong in the new year.
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