Cod's decline linked to warming Gulf of Maine


A study in Science published online on October 29, 2015 revealed that rapid warming in the Gulf of Maine may have contributed to collapse of cod fishing in New England and may explain why the fishery has not recovered. Bigelow Laboratory researcher Nick Record contributed temperature data and analysis to this landmark study.

According to the paper, over the last decade, sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Maine increased faster than 99% of the global ocean. The warming, which was related to a northward shift in the Gulf Stream and to changes in the Atlantic Multidecadal and Pacific Decadal Oscillations, led to reduced recruitment and increased mortality in the region's Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stock. Failure to recognize the impact of warming on cod contributed to overfishing.

The authors surmise that recovery of this fishery will depend on sound management, but also that the size of the stock will be affected future temperature conditions. The experience in the Gulf of Maine highlights the need to incorporate environmental factors into resource management.

The authors of the Science paper are: Andrew J. Pershing, Michael A. Alexander, Christina M. Hernandez, Lisa A. Kerr, Arnault Le Bris, Katherine E. Mills, Janet A. Nye, Nicholas R. Record, Hillary A. Scannell, James D. Scott, Graham D. Sherwood, and Andrew C. Thomas. The paper can be read [140]here.

The paper was reported on by [141]The New York Times, [142]Boston Globe,[143] NPR, [144]The Guardian, and [145]Washington Post.News Sidebar

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