P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association seeks bids for Groundfish Rationalization Program     Plebiscite ballots to be counted before March 31     ‘Drastic cut’ coming to 4X cod quota     AANS supportive of proposed activities regulations     Agreement signed for new Coast Guard Centre in P.E.I.     Annand Clams ready to dig into business      Area 25 lobster season set to open     Blue Whale Bash fundraiser raises awareness of threats to Gulf’s marine life     Busy meeting schedule for Island fishers     Chinese firm’s entry into Atlantic lobster industry a potential game-changer      Committee to discuss policy     Committee to study foreign worker changes     Draw for winter flounder fishery in eastern PEI     Draw to be held for PEI tuna reallocation     Eel fishery to close Oct. 21     Fisheries Committee meeting cancelled     Fisheries committee tables report during fall legislature session     Fisheries Research Council building collaboration among industry players     Fishermen’s cooperative off the ground with room to grow     Fishers urged to make safety a priority     Five years and counting for Lobster Council of Canada     Gulf region DFO joins Twitter     Halibut draw planned Wednesday     Halibut fishermen asked to watch out for tags     Harper Government just doesn’t get Atlantic Canadian economic realitiies      Herring meeting planned     Industry pleased with greater enforcement efforts     Industry working with governments to solve EU name requirement     Inshore fishermen’s group gives conditional approval to quarry project     Island delegates attending ICCAT meeting     Island lobster fishers to vote on marketing board     Late start for southwest N.S. lobster fishery     LaVie questions why no settlement for former OCI workers     Legislative committee to study dispute in Malpeque Bay     Legislative framework for marketing levy now in place     Liberals accused of stifling industry input     Lobster levy consultations underway     Lobster levy consultations wrap up     Major improvement planned for West Point Harbour     Major improvement planned for West Point Harbour     McGeoghegan steps down as PEIFA president     Meetings planned to discuss marketing plan     Minister offers condolences to family of deceased fisher     Miramichi River featured in Atlantic Salmon Journal     Mussel industry forum planned for Island capital     NAFO continues implementation of the ecosystem approach     Name a Whale Challenge! renames endangered blue whale     New board steps up to reopen Mulgrave Marina     New life ahead for closed P.E.I. processing plant     NL Premier Davis should rethink pulling support for Europe free trade deal     Northern Harvest Sea Farms first in the world to four-star certification     Northumberland Strait fishers hope for better lobster season in 2015     Oil price swoon will benefit fishing industry     One in a million or two     Opening delayed for second halibut season     Oyster grower of the year competition     P.E.I. government settles lawsuit with Ocean Choice     P.E.I. in brief     Paul Murray wins award for largest tuna landed in P.E.I.     PEI committee to study crisis in lobster industry     PEI fishermen approve marketing levy     PEI government makes promises to industry in throne speech     PEI lobster fishery receives MSC certification     PEI lobster industry receives MSC certification     PEIFA calls for moratorium on agriculture wells to stay in place     PEIFA discusses proposed marketing plan     PEIFA happy with increase tuna quota, wants distribution details     PEIFA registering lobster fisheries for plebiscite     Planning begins for lobster symposium     Registration closed for halibut fishery     Rock crab fishery in 26A set to open     Salmon foundation supports creation of advisory committee     Seafood market re-opens in style     Seaweed industry expansion Atlantic Canada’s “good news story of the year”      Second halibut season opens September 29     Shea highlights harbour projects in speech to PEIFA     Shellfish association agrees to participate in oyster roundtable     Shellfish association agrees to participate in oyster roundtable     Snow crab season extended     Some N.B. fishers unsure of proposed aquaculture changes     Straight ahead for southwest N.S. lobster fishery     Suspension of Free Trade support: NL letting politics obstruct good policy     Tests continue for dead mackerel in Bras d’Or Lake     Time to stop dithering: Get on with levy-funded lobster branding     Tuna tags issued for reallocation fishery     We have a winner!     Winter inshore shrimp fishery born from Canso man’s vision     Workshops planned     Auditor General calls for improvements in monitoring of aquaculture agreements     Codroy Seafoods nets $12,180 to support new marketing     Contract announced for Tignish Harbour     Contribute to an RRSP, TSFA or both?      Fisheries Committee debates bill regulating seal hunter observers     Grants stress importance of marine infrastructure     Icewater Seafoods receives $200,000 to enhance cod processing     Independent aquaculture review panel releases final report     Lobster Council building momentum for generic marketing strategy     MacAulay 'astounded' at DFO budget under-spending     Minister awaits scientific assessment     Newfoundland and Labrador unveils Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy     NL government engaging youth in marine studies     P.E.I. fisheries minister retiring     P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association holds annual meeting     P.E.I. lobster fishers awaiting results of commodity board plebiscite     P.E.I. seafood promoted in Winnipeg     P.E.I. seafood promoted in Winnipeg     Quinlan Brothers receive $100,000 to create energy savings     Research centre taking a closer look at mackerel, cod, halibut     Seafood market re-opens in style     Shea announces funding for recreational fishery     St. Mary’s River Smokehouses upgrading with government assistance     Tuna meetings planned     UPDATE: Lobster levy consultations underway   

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Familiar fish are moving north: new study
Jack MacAndrew

“These global changes have implications for everyone in every part of the planet…” - University of British Columbia Researcher William Cheung “It’s not something in the distant future. It is well underway,” says famed marine biologist Boris Worm at Dalhousie University.
Marine biologists on both ends of the country are in agreement - the warming of the oceans is having, and will have, an enormous affect on the way commercial fisheries in the western Atlantic will be conducted on every species now fished for human consumption, as well as those not now considered unfit to eat.
The scientists say familiar species like cod and haddock are being replaced by warm water species migrating northward as the ocean warms to temperatures suitable for their existence.
Dr. Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre was lead scientist on a new report, just published in Nature Magazine. He tells the Atlantic Fisherman: “Fish species always move with the temperature of the ocean. It used to happen randomly - what we call a “regime shift.”
These movements would take place according to variations in water temperature from year to year in specific areas where a fish species would congregate for a limited period of time - for example, the winter migration of cod in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
But what the scientists are forecasting now is an entirely different bowl of fish broth.
“What is happening now is a definite trend,” says Pauly. “The direction is dominantly towards the poles and away from the equator, towards deeper and colder water, and that movement directly coincides with global warming and its measureable effect on ocean temperatures.
“Fish species will move towards the appropriate temperature in which their larvae and juvenile fish will thrive.”
Pauly warns that the current boom in lobster populations, and the larger catches fishermen are experiencing, is a “transient and not a permanent situation”.
“The mechanism is universal,” he says. “Fish cannot regulate their temperature, so individual species must move to reach their own preferred temperature. Some may adapt to warmer temperatures, but they need time to do it.”
The end result is a movement of fish northward and offshore towards deeper depths and colder water. That phenomenon inevitably will have a profound effect on the inshore fishery as larger vessels become necessary to travel farther and farther from home in search of fish. This effect has already been recorded in the lobster fishery . The southern edge of the range for homarus americanus has moved northward during the last decade , co-incident with the highest temperatures in recorded history currently being registered in the Gulf of Maine, and Atlantic Canada.
The northward movement, along with overfishing of stocks past the sustainable mark, has collapsed the groundfishery in waters off the northeastern states of the USA. That is seen in now non-existent populations of cod and haddock, with resulting severe economic havoc on inshore fishermen, and much reduced quotas on the diminishing populations that remain.
The effect of warming oceans is also seen in surf clams, which cannot move to seek more hospitable habitat. Populations are disappearing in shallow and warmer waters off Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, but the clams still thrive in the waters of northeastern New England.
The question is - how long will it take before the inshore fishery of the Atlantic region is in trouble, as the inevitable effects of global warming begin to impact the fishery?
In an email from Dr. Boris Worm, he says it’s hard to tell.
“Time frames are hard to pin down,” he says, “but there has been significant movement northwards of lobster and cod stocks over the past 30 years.”
Worm says, “This has not yet affected our region adversely. It is still well within the preferred temperature envelope of those species.”
And when politicians like Prince Edward Island’s Minister of Fisheries boasts that there is no conservation problem in the lobster fishery of his province, is he doing justice to the fishermen who are bound to feel the effects of climate change - sooner or later.
In the fishing ports of New England, the ugly reality of a fishless future for the inshore fishery has already hit home.
“We’re seeing significant declines in the number of boats that can fish,” says Richard Merrick, chief scientific advisor for the US government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The crews that go along with that, they’re out of work.”
In Canadian terms, that’s a forecast for the destruction of a coastal society that pre-dates Canada itself by several centuries.
“Everything depends on some minimal level of predictability,” Glen Spain told the Washington Post. He works for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “And everything is becoming less and less predictable because of climate change.
“The biggest problem we have with fishery management is it assumes the future will look like the past. That’s no longer the case.”
Drs. Pauly and Cheung examined 52 distinct marine ecosystems around the globe in coming up with their conclusions on fish movement, noting that water temperatures rose in every ocean of the world during the last three decades.
“Fish are kind of the canary in the coal mine here, or the canary in the ocean,” says Worm. “It’s changing, and they are adapting. And the question is - how will we adapt. Or will we?”

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