Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Harvesting oysters in the Gulf of Mexico Photo: Spike Johnson, Inside Climate News
Warming ocean temperatures are causing massive changes for fishermen, some of which may force them out of business, according to several recent stories examining the impacts of climate change on the fishing industry. Various valuable fish species all around the U.S. and the globe, from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico to the North Atlantic, are shifting to the north to avoid warmer waters and also are being impacted by new threats caused by ocean warming and acidification.
The Wall Street Journal chronicled the increasing challenges for the crews of the fishing vessel Oracle that catches halibut in the Deadliest Catch waters of the Bering Sea off Alaska. This past fall, the Oracle twice sailed 800 miles north from the seaport of Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands, before finding the halibut that a decade ago lived several hundred miles closer to home. Each voyage took twice as long and yielded half as many fish.
As Inside Climate News explained, “From cheap food imports to hurricanes fueled by a warming planet, these systems support, or strain, the tapestry of what it takes to get seafood to the dinner plates of diners.” However, not everyone is a loser in this warming scenario — the Wall Street Journal describes how “[o]ff Rhode Island, newly booming fisheries include not just black sea bass but also squid and Jonah crab, an edible species with big, dark-brown claws.”
Why This Matters: Warming waters that shift fish populations make a barely viable business downright impossible for many small and medium-sized fishing operations. Not to mention the additional fuel and time it takes to chase fewer fish, that are now found farther from ports. Watching this play out is painful in U.S. fishing communities, but for many parts of the world, it could become a real food security crisis. The U.S. government currently is very lethargic in changing its fisheries management schemes even as the evidence of shifting fish populations grows. Given the challenges of climate change, a more engaged approach to fisheries management that takes climate change into account is needed. It will benefit the fishermen and the fish populations as well.
Ten years after the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster, the Japanese government announced that it will release treated radioactive water from the destroyed plant into the ocean beginning in 2023. The decision to dump more than 1 million metric tons of contaminated water into the Pacific ocean has upset local fishers and surrounding countries.
Why This Matters: A decade after a 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the decision to release water into the ocean is just one part of the prolonged decommissioning of the plant.
Hundreds of citizens will fan out across the nation’s capital next week to meet with lawmakers in what’s projected to be the largest ocean lobby effort in US history. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they will meet with Biden administration officials, federal agencies, and members of Congress for a nonpartisan Ocean Climate Action Hill Day.
Why It Matters: As the Biden administration and the Congress begin to debate what’s infrastructure and therefore within the American Jobs Plan, the blue economy needs to be front and center in it.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.