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Climate Change: Warming Oceans and the boom in Atlantic lobster landings

In response to the recent IPCC report, Ecology Action Centre (EAC), Halifax, published a statement titled, CHANGING OCEANS DEEPLY TROUBLING FOR ATLANTIC CANADA.

The release dated September 25, 2019, focuses on how the changing oceans will impact Atlantic Canada, including how warming oceans will effect important commercial fish species such as Atlantic lobsters:

"What, where and how we fish: A warming ocean will cause commercially important species to migrate, and we’ll have to adapt. Some species, such as lobster, are already moving north in search of colder waters. While this has caused a short-term boom in the lobster industry, coastal communities that rely on abundant lobster populations (e.g., southwest Nova Scotia), could be especially vulnerable in the long-term if this northward movement continues. At the same time, destructive fishing methods continue to damage fragile sea-bottom habitats, which makes ecosystems and fisheries even more vulnerable to climate change."

The above links to a report by DFO called “Canada’s Oceans Now - Atlantic Ecosystems 2018 . Here's a graph from p.33 which illustrates the spike in lobster catches from 2010 onwards.

Quoted from EAC:  

"As the IPCC report makes clear, the pace of change that we are seeing is unprecedented. In Atlantic Canada, the effects on our culture, economy and communities will be sweeping. We must act quickly and decisively.

We still have time to turn things around, but it will require major changes in how we manage our fisheries along with our coastal and marine habitats,” says Jordy Thomson, Marine Science and Conservation Coordinator, EAC. 

Here are just 2 of EAC’s 6 recommended actions they are urging the government to take:

"End overfishing and habitat destruction: Healthy habitats and fish populations can buffer ocean ecosystems against the worst impacts of climate change, but overfishing and destructive gears have put many fish species and their homes at risk. The federal government must put an immediate stop to overfishing, move to low impact gear, and implement plans to rebuild depleted stocks as quickly as possible.”

"Protect natural carbon sinks in the ocean: Salt marshes, seagrass meadows, and other marine habitats capture and store carbon from the atmosphere. In Atlantic Canada, these ecosystems have been badly degraded. Federal and provincial governments must invest in protecting and restoring these natural carbon sinks along our coasts."

or, Visit our Facebook page to find the links to these reports and join in the conversation!


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