Washington, D.C. — New England fishermen believe climate forces such as ocean warming and acidification threaten their businesses, a new Center for American Progress report shows. The report is based on polling—conducted by Edge Research—of fishermen who are part of the northeast multispecies fishery, better known as the groundfishery, as well as the Maine and Massachusetts lobster fisheries.
While well-recognized historic threats to these industries include overfishing and water quality, fishermen are concerned that ocean warming could leave them “unable to profit” or “forced out” of their business. And although two-thirds of the fishermen identify politically as “conservative” or “moderate,” those who recognize the existence of climate change outnumber deniers by four-to-one, among other key findings.
“As we discuss the economic and employment impacts of climate policies, it is critical to note that entire industries are at risk right now as a result of our changing climate,” said Michael Conathan, CAP Director of Ocean Policy. “From southern New England lobster to northern Gulf of Maine shrimp, ocean warming and acidification are taking money out of fishermen’s pockets and keeping food off our plates. Deepening our understanding of how climate change affects coastal ecosystems will protect fishermen’s livelihoods, our economy, and Americans’ access to seafood.”
Ocean acidification and warming have proven detrimental to seafood harvests along U.S. coasts. Higher acidity threatens some species’ ability to survive, while warmer temperatures can trigger geographic shifts of fish populations and lead to associated disruptions to the market. Yet research to better understand and prepare for their impacts on fish populations has remained chronically underfunded. CAP’s report, “Fishermen’s Views of a Changing Ocean,” offers recommendations to fund such research and to establish a more collaborative approach among scientists, regulators, and industry to managing fisheries.
For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at gro.ssergorpnacirema@azzaiact or 202.481.7141.