Climate change has made the Gulf of Maine less hospitable to many cold-water species, such as cod and northern shrimp. New species from more southerly waters, however, have begun to show up with greater frequency.
These rapid shifts in distribution along the Atlantic coast are creating unprecedented challenges for fisheries managers.
“It is difficult for science and management to keep up with the rate of change we’re seeing,” said Jonathon Peros, GMRI Fisheries Technical Assistance Program Project Manager. “The velocity of climate change requires that we get out ahead of these changes and proactively address the fisheries we see emerging in the Gulf of Maine.”
Peros recently worked with Mary Hudson, a masters student from University of Rhode Island and summer intern at GMRI, to publish “Preparing for Emerging Fisheries: An Overview of Mid-Atlantic Stocks on the Move” (www.gmri.org/emergingfisheries).
The report focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with seven species that have shown significant movement up the coast—summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, longfin and Illex squid, Atlantic mackerel, and butterfish.
“Most stocks trending northward are currently managed by Mid-Atlantic fisheries managers,” said Hudson. “If they continue to move into the Northeast, major changes will be required to support and develop these emerging fisheries.”