Saturday, February 24, 2007

North Atlantic fish suffering from climate change

Ocean water is now a little less salty in the Northwest Atlantic. Who cares? You do, because this means fabled atlantic cod are in trouble.

Fishermen have been killing too many cod for a very long time in the Northwest Atlantic. Now, just when fishing is being reined in, climate change is making recovery difficult. Where does this show up? In the geeky world of oceanography, and the deeply unsexy task of measuring just how salty is the ocean.

The effects are indirect, but powerful. Climate change is melting ice and increasing freshwater flow to the area. This inhibits top-to-bottom stirring of the ocean in the fall, and disrupts typical plankton blooms, reducing food supplies for the fish people care about.

The cascading effects of climate change are hard to predict, but if this is a harbinger of things to come, it won't be pretty. Shocking changes have been reported, and trends are worrisome. Plankton declines here, low oxygen there, with causality chains that look derived from Mother Goose or even Dr. Seuss.

So stand by...because

this is the time
and here is the place
where the ice did melt
and the water did flow
and the ocean won't mix
and the plankton won't bloom
and the herring won't grow
and the cod won't eat
so there's no fish to catch
it's it's the end of the house that cod built


Janvangogh said...

Got to wonder about that giant squid that was recently caught and in the news.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mark,

Are you going to give an opinion on the question I asked on your last post? Don't you think 'pot fishing' will reduce 'overfishing' of Atlantic Cod?


Mark Powell said...

Brad, yes, I'll answer in the comments section to the last post, thanks.