NEW BEDFORD — Warming ocean waters could endanger a highly profitable pillar of New Bedford’s fishing industry in coming years, according to a newly released study of climate change’s potential impacts on marine life.

“Sea scallops have a high vulnerability ranking,” reads a Feb. 3 announcement from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, which operates in Woods Hole under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). “Negative impacts are estimated for many of the iconic species in the ecosystem including Atlantic sea scallop, Atlantic cod and Atlantic mackerel.”

The NOAA study, formally known as the Northeast Climate Vulnerability Assessment, said Atlantic sea scallops have “limited mobility and high sensitivity to the ocean acidification that will be more pronounced as water temperatures warm.”

Water temperatures in Buzzards Bay have risen 4 degrees over the past two decades, for example, according to a recent study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

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