The Gulf of Maine is warming at a faster rate than 99.9 percent of the world ocean, a trend with uncertain implications for the last great maritime fishery: American lobster. Every year, fishermen, scientists, and managers wait to see if the fishery reverses its fantastic growth, which has been a salutary effect of climate change over the past three decades. The gulf has as many horizons as it has islands, and nobody knows the whole thing. Like the story of the blind men and the elephant, every person you ask, even the most expert, will describe a different gulf to you, and a different crisis. What’s clear is that the ecosystems of the region have been shaped by many different pressures: domesticated by management, depleted by overfishing, shuffled by natural climatic cycles. The future of the gulf will depend not just on the trajectory of ocean warming, but on whether people can rethink the way we use the environment, and adapt to a changing world.
Sea of Change
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