fishing

David Abel

 

The buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is warming the oceans, and the waters off New England’s coast are seeing some of the most dramatic temperature increases of anywhere in the world. And that is having a major effect on lobster populations and the fishermen who rely on them.

A New Bedford fishing boat.
Heather Goldstone / WCAI

New Bedford fishermen are worried about how catch limits and fishing permits will be affected by the government shutdown, as it enters its 35th day with no end in sight. The shutdown has furloughed many National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employees, the organization that processes permitting and catch limits. 

Mud plumes follow Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawlers like con trails follow airplanes.
NASA image by Jesse Allen, data from Univ. Maryland Global Land Cover Facility. / Public Domain

Roughly a fifth of all fish eaten globally are caught using nets towed along the bottom of the ocean. There’s long been concern that this method – known as trawling – destroys or severely damages the ecosystems where it’s used. Now, a new meta-analysis of the science available on this topic offers some quantification of the impacts of different type of trawls.