Global Warming Threatens Maine Lobsters

Maine lobster populations, under threat as a result of global warming, are the focus of a campaign by a group of environmental, conservation, tourist and lobster groups.

According to the Huffington Post, the announcement made last week in a press conference held in Portland by the group, focused on issues including “carbon pollution from power plants, cars and elsewhere,” which is “warming up and acidifying waters in the Gulf of Maine.”

The group claims that rising temperatures, which create warmer waters, force lobster migrations out towards colder waters. As a result, they’re more susceptible to disease. The acidified waters also hinder the lobsters’ ability to properly form their shells.

Lobster is an extremely important commodity for Maine. In 2012, lobster brought in $339 million to area fishermen. But catches could decrease if the climate issues affecting Maine’s waters aren’t addressed. Ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have been steadily increasing in the last decade. The Huffington Post reports that southern New England lobster populations have “virtually collapsed over the past 15 years, in part because of warmer waters.”

The Huffington Post also reports that Emmie Theberge of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said any federal action that will decrease carbon pollution should be supported in an effort to protect lobster populations; “The fact that carbon pollution hurts Maine lobsters should be a concern to all Mainers,” she said.

Carbon pollution recently hit 400 parts per million for the first time in recorded history. Safe limits are believed to be 350 parts per million.

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Image: Dana Moos