New England Fisheries

Winter is coming – but the oceans are heating up

Photo credit: Brett Seymour.

As folks in New England start to settle in for the winter months, our underwater creatures are in for a whole other experience: rapid ocean warming. We have known for a few years now that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s ocean, but what may feel like old news is still very relevant to our marine life and coastal communities.

Reuters Investigates recently published a new series titled, “Ocean Shock: The climate crisis beneath the waves.” Using interactive infographics, compelling storytelling, and eye-capturing photos the series takes a deep dive into how climate change is impacting our ocean and the people around the world who rely on its resources. For example, Reuters reports, “In the U.S. North Atlantic…fisheries data show that in recent years, at least 85% of the nearly 70 federally tracked species have shifted north or deeper, or both, when compared to the norm over the past half-century. And the most dramatic of species shifts have occurred in the last 10 or 15 years.”

These shifting fish populations are just one of the impacts climate change has on our ocean that both marine life and humans will have to adapt to.

Reuters explores the topic of marine migration a bit more in one of the Ocean Shock feature stories titled as “The great lobster rush,” which discusses the northward migration of lobsters in New England. As lobster populations have dwindled in southern New England, the crustacean has come to dominate the Maine market: “Until this century, only about 50 percent of all fishing revenue in Maine came from lobstering, according to U.S. Fisheries Data. In the 2000s, that started to steadily rise until, in 2016, it topped 82 percent.”

If you haven’t already, we recommended exploring the series for yourself. And if you find yourself wanting more, here are some recent articles focusing on climate change and New England’s ocean:


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