North Carolina Fishing Boats Are Shifting North To New Jersey

Climate change is forcing fishermen to travel great distances poleward in pursuit of fish.

As the oceans warm in response to climate change, fishing boats in the Mid-Atlantic that focus on only one or two species of fish are traveling more than 250 miles farther north than they did 20 years ago, while others catching a wide diversity of species have not changed fishing location, reported Talia Young, a postdoctoral research associate in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton.

“In fishing communities, people’s well-being and the environment’s well-being are intricately tied together,” said Young, who is a David H. Smith Conservation Postdoctoral Fellow. “We know that climate change is affecting natural resources. We can see how it is affecting when things are blooming, where species are distributed, and—because fish are mobile—we’re seeing dramatic changes in the distribution of fish in the ocean. But in order to fully understand how climate change is affecting the world we live in, we have to understand how it’s affecting the environment, the animals that live in the environment, and also the people that interact with and depend on those animals.”

The Northwestern Atlantic Ocean, the patch of sea located off the coast of the northeastern United States, is one of the most rapidly warming parts of the ocean.

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