GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

September 27, 2013

New England waters see rise in warm-water species

Fish commonly found in warm ocean waters to the south have become more common in New England as ocean temperatures rise, statistics show.

And over the past two years, fishermen in southern New England have seen an increase in croaker, cobia and spot, species more commonly found in waters off the mid-Atlantic. Certain types of skates and blue crabs are also becoming more numerous, fishermen say.

In the colder Gulf of Maine waters north of Cape Cod and east and north of Cape Ann, black sea bass have become more prevalent the past two summers. Longfin squid, which are found primarily south of Cape Cod, were present in Maine waters during the 2012 summer, resulting in new fisheries and markets being developed for the season.

Before last year, lobster fisherman David Cousens of South Thomaston, Maine, had seen only one ocean sunfish in nearly 40 years of pulling traps. This summer, he’s seen a bunch of them, sometimes days in a row.

Cousens even found some sea horses in his traps last summer. Scientists say there have also been reports of triggerfish and filefish — colorful species that look more suited to an aquarium — and juvenile snowy grouper, which is normally found in the Caribbean or off the southern U.S.

“There’s no question the Gulf of Maine is changing rapidly,” Cousens said. “Stuff you’ve never seen in your lifetime that you would think would take 200 or 300 years to slowly change has happened in the past 20 or 30 years — the last 10 years, really. It’s scary, but what are you going to do about it? You can’t stop global warming.”

Ocean temperatures worldwide are rising rapidly, with some of the fastest warming taking place in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Temperatures off the Northeast U.S. hit an all-time high during the ocean heat wave of 2012, affecting virtually all ocean life.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN