Cod is one of the most popular and abundant fish in the North Atlantic, but researchers say that the Atlantic cod is nearing extinction due to global warming.
CCTV America’s Daniel Ryntjes reports from Kent Island, Maryland.
Researchers say Atlantic cod nearing extinction due to global warmingCod is one of the most popular and abundant fish in the North Atlantic, but researchers say that the Atlantic cod is nearing extinction due to global warming. CCTV America's Daniel Ryntjes reports from Kent Island, Maryland.
New York’s A Salt and Battery Fish ‘n’ Chip shop specializes in Atlantic cod, but most customers have no idea that soon it could be off the menu for good.
For thousands of years cod was super-abundant and fisherman joked that they could cross the Atlantic by walking on their backs. But in recent decades trawlers over-fished them. Officials imposed drastic quota reductions thinking that it would replenish stocks.
A recent study in the journal Science concludes that sharp ocean temperature increases in the Gulf of Maine have suppressed the ability of cod to reproduce.
Government scientists working for the agency responsible for fisheries policy, NOAA, are meeting to discuss the data.
“There’s certainly clear scientific evidence that climate change and warming oceans are affecting distributions and productivity of fish stocks, particularly in New England where, for a number of reasons, there’s a greater ocean warming effect,” Bill Karp, Science and Research Director, NOAA Fisheries for the New England region said.
The study says the waters between Maine and the Canadian Maritimes have warmed 99.9 percent faster than the rest of the world’s oceans, mainly due to the disproportionate impact of the warming currents, known as the Gulf Stream.
“We can’t turn the dial that changes the temperature of the Gulf of Maine. We can’t change the acidification levels in the Gulf of Maine. So we still just have that one level of managing the harvest levels, and we don’t know how much of a factor that has. You push down fishing levels, but that doesn’t necessary mean that the stocks go up the way it used to,” John Bullard, Regional Administrator, NOAA Fisheries for New England said.
Atlantic cod stocks were recently calculated to be about 3-4 percent of sustainable levels. Researchers are convinced that there’s a link between the warming of these waters and the ability of cod to reproduce. But what they don’t understand yet is how the cod will adapt to these conditions within the ecosystem, moving forward.
Despite fishing quotas being 95 percent less than they used to be, scientists say it’s now impossible for them to predict whether even that will be enough to save the Atlantic cod from extinction.