Scientists are concerned about the impact of climate change on lobster population, $1.7 billion industry
A recent assessment from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) reveals that the lobster population in Canada’s Maritime region remains strong and sustainable, but scientists remain concerned about the longer-term effects of climate change on the fishery.
Researchers tracked lobster populations along the Scotian Shelf and Bay of Fundy – waters that support nearly 3,000 commercial license holders in 12 lobster fishing areas (LFAs).
For 2022 stock assessments, all LFAs in the Maritimes fell within the healthy zone for stock status. DFO indicated that the same was found in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, although stock assessments for five fishing areas in that region have not yet been released.
Despite the good news, there are concerns that climate change could alter the healthy status of the $1.7 billion fishery down the road. DFO biologist Adam Cook told CBC News that ocean warming is most likely to negatively affect young lobster and it would be seven to eight years before it shows up in landings.
“Those are the sort of things we are looking at from warm water events that may be affecting reproduction survival,” Cook said.
Fishermen are also monitoring the impact of rising ocean temperatures, aware of the declining lobster catches off southern New England.
“We’ve seen some serious downturns over the last number of years in the southern waters,” said Cook. “Is it from global warming, water temperatures, stocks migrating?”
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