Warming waters are driving the spread of a deadly disease that afflicts New England lobsters. For Maine lobstermen, it’s just the latest climate-related threat.
“The mood around Maine is bleak, to say the least,” said Mark Green, an oceanographer at Saint Joseph’s College in Maine. Warmer waters retain less oxygen than colder waters, hurting marine life. Carbon pollution is also making oceans more acidic, causing lobsters’ shells to dissolve.
“The productivity of the ocean is not what it was,” said Green. “The ocean temperature is much, much warmer.” Maine lobster are fleeing north to cooler climes, leaving lobstermen behind.
“There’s a sweet spot for temperature with lobsters,” said Dave Cousens, president of the Maine Lobsterman’s Association. “Warm water, eventually, can wreck our industry.”