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.