Global Warming Killing Lobsters, Jobs from Virginia to Massachusetts


    Global warming isn’t just raising air temperatures; it’s raising ocean temperatures as well. And if you’re a lobster living in already-warm Gulf Stream waters, even a small increase in temperature can push you past a tipping point, make you more vulnerable to bacteria & disease.

    Scientists say it looks like that’s exactly what’s happening right now, with lobsters populations declining by as much as 50% off southern Massachusetts. It’s not just devastating for the crustaceans — it’s disastrous for the people whose jobs depend on lobsters:

    Lobster populations in a large swath of the Atlantic Ocean have declined so much that biologists are recommending a five-year ban on catching lobsters south of Cape Cod down to Virginia to allow the stock to bounce back. […]

    Lobstermen, many who learned about the proposal in recent weeks, said they were being blamed for a problem that was not their doing. Bernie Feeney of the lobstermen’s association said regulators are suggesting the moratorium because, unlike warming sea waters, “it is the only variable they have control over. And fishermen take it on the chin every time.”

    It’s not like lobsters are going extinct anytime soon. But to lobstermen, there may not be much practical difference between “extinct” and “not vibrant enough to support a lobstering industry.”

    But Bernie Feeney is right — the people feeling the effects of global warming have been far too silent about its causes for far too long. Will more lobstermen now speak up about the need to end our addiction to polluting fuels & move to clean energy sources? We’ll see.

    • Jim Webb Dem

      I suppose Global Warming could be a significant factor in all this …. but as an avid recreational fisherman who has spent 20 years traveling up and down the east coast …. the condition of fish stocks collapsing has one main culprit, period. Commercial OVERFISHING.

      It is overfishing …. (they like to use the term harvesting of oysters, or cod or lobster or crab, etc. … but commercial fishing doesn’t “plant” anything). The plunder continues … unabated and barely checked by quotas until there is a pending collapse.

      And it’s always about jobs lost…. jobs lost … jobs lost. In Gulf Coast region today …. you’re already hearing we need to start drilling again …. because of jobs lost. Never mind that the Bluefin Tuna population may get whacked beyond repair because of the Ecological damage in the region.

      In the Chesapeake Bay … Omega Protein pillages the base of the fish food chain up and down the east coast (taking menhaden for fish oil products / pills) aiding in the collapse of other major fish stocks.  When challenged to be shut down …. they trot out a representative of the NAACP who talks about 250 jobs being lost in the economically depressed Northern Neck region. A crucial issue because those hard working folks don’t have oysters to shuck anymore or as many crab pots to pull. The commercial fishing folks migrate from one source to another (after the collapse of one species to the next).

      I hope … particularly with the new head of NOAA that across the board the federal government institute 5 year moratoriums on a variety of seafood species …. just to see what if any can really “rebound” from decades of overfishing.