Maine has long been famous for its plentiful catches of fresh lobster, and lobster fishing is a major part of the local economy. But will that always be the case? Like salmon, lobsters are migrating away from the Maine coast to colder waters. A 2013 study found these crustaceans moved north about 43 miles per decade between 1968 and 2008. At that rate, Maine lobsters will be entirely in Canada within 30 years, Business Insider estimates.
A new study from scientists at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences says baby lobsters might not survive if water temperatures rise five degrees more, which is precisely how much the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects the Gulf of Maine’s temperature to warm by the year 2100.
The warm water is affecting lobster populations as far south as Connecticut and Rhode Island. A 2015 study from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission found lobster populations south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, were at record lows with the number of adult lobsters at 10 million — about a fifth of the total in the late 1990s.