New England's Cod Are Fleeing to Cooler Waters

Temperatures in the Gulf of Maine have soared in recent years
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2015 6:39 PM CDT
New England's Cod Are Fleeing to Cooler Waters
Cod is getting hard to come by in New England thanks to rapidly warming waters in the Gulf of Maine, according to a new study.   (Shutterstock)

Hope you like seahorse-and-chips because New England is just about out of cod thanks in part to global climate change, Reuters reports. According to a study published Thursday in Science, the waters in the Gulf of Maine have warmed faster than 99% of all other ocean waters. And that's sent heat-hating cod toward the cooler waters off Canada, Norway, and Greenland. One of the study's authors says it should serve as a "wake-up call" for climate scientists and fishery management to work together. NPR reports management was setting quotas on cod to help their numbers replenish. But they weren't taking warming waters into account and were still catching too many cod.

Researchers say the Gulf of Maine is warming so fast due to changes in the Atlantic Gulf Stream and the Pacific Ocean, as well as climate change in general, Reuters reports. Starting in 2004, the temperature in the Gulf of Maine rose by more than 0.4 degrees every year. The amount of cod caught in that time dropped precipitously, to only 1,000 tons in 2013. And researchers says those numbers are unlikely to ever completely recover, according to NPR. This has led to skyrocketing cod prices in New England, where some restaurants are doing away with the fish entirely, the Christian Science Monitor reports. At the same time, the warming waters off the coast of Maine are suddenly teeming with seahorses, which are typically found further south, according to NPR. So how bad could breaded and fried seahorse be? (More cod stories.)

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