Thursday, September 26, 2013

Climate Change Devastating Ocean Fisherman

Climate Change Devastating Ocean Fisherman: ‘Sometimes We’ll Catch 5,000 Pounds Of Jellyfish’
By Katie Valentine on September 24, 2013

For many U.S. fisherman, there’s no debate about climate change. It’s here, and already majorly impacting their industries.

In New Jersey, Rutgers scientists have documented for 24 years how climate change is affecting the state’s oceans through weekly fish surveys. The researchers are finding fewer and fewer northern species and more and more southern species — fish like the Atlantic croaker, which historically have rarely ventured into the cool waters surrounding New Jersey. Mackerel and clams, which were once common, are now moving north, forcing fisherman to reevaluate what they fish for.

“As far as fishermen are concerned, climate change is here. This is a reality,” Tom Fote, of the Jersey Coast Anglers Association, told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re going to have to change the way we fish.”

And it’s not just in New Jersey. Off the coast of Oregon, ocean acidification and hypoxia — a depletion in the ocean’s oxygen which can cause dead zones — are two of the biggest problems facing the region’s ocean ecosystems. Both are linked to climate change: the ocean absorbs about 30 to 40 percent of the atmosphere’s excess carbon, causing its pH to drop, and one study found hypoxia tends to increase as temperatures rise. Particularly off the coast of Oregon, where hypoxia began occurring in 2002 and anoxia — an area with zero oxygen — first emerged in 2006, more evidence is pointing to climate change as a likely culprit of the patches of depleted oxygen.


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