Researchers studying the Gulf of Maine say its waters are warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, and worry the rising temperatures will hit New England commercial fisheries hard.
The study is still in its preliminary phase, and is being conducted by scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. According to their data the waters off of New England’s coast are warming by about a half a degree Fahrenheit per year on average. That gives the region a dubious distinction.
“The trend we have in the Gulf Of Maine Right now over the last ten years, is about 8 times faster than that global rate,” says Andrew Pershing Chief Scientific officer with the institute.
The study doesn’t try to predict the warming will continue at this rate, but Pershing does believe that it’s already messing with the Gulf of Maine’s ecosystem. He says southern species like Black Sea Bass and long fin squid are appearing in New England waters, and traditional fisheries are suffering.
“The decline of the shrimp fishery, I think that’s another one that has a very strong finger-print of warming,” he says.
Globally, the oceans are warming on average about .1 degree Fahrenheit each year.