There was a mix of news about the Gulf of Maine last week. First, there were dire warnings about the role of rising ocean temperatures in the demise of cod in the North Atlantic. Then came what sounded like good news — Maine has surpassed Massachusetts to become the state with the second most lucrative seafood landings in the country. Finally, on Friday, federal regulators announced they would close the Gulf of Maine herring fishery this month.
All of these stories are interrelated and point to the need for much more research to gain better understanding about what is happening in the Atlantic Ocean and why. With better knowledge about how changing ocean conditions affect different species, regulators can more effectively target rules to protect them and the fishermen who make a living catching them.
The virtual disappearance of cod from the waters off New England is not news. But a new report, published in the journal Science, concludes that rising ocean temperatures played a much larger role in the decline than initially thought.
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