Around New England

Climate Change Killing Lobsters, Activists Say

November 11, 2019

Lobstermen working off the coast of Cape Cod found dead lobsters in their traps earlier this fall, leading some observers to conclude that warmer weather is causing higher water temperatures which is leading to less oxygen in the water.

Marine animals sense low oxygen levels in the water and move to places where there is enough, but animals caught in traps can’t do that, a member of the Massachusetts Special Commission on Ocean Acidification said, according to The Cape Cod Times.

The news story does not mention how many lobsters were found dead.

The 19-member commission met in Woods Hole, a village of Falmouth on Cape Cod, on Friday, November 8.

A research associate with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said the ocean is getting more acidic in part because one-quarter of the increased levels of carbon dioxide are ending up in the ocean and decreasing the pH (or potential hydrogen) level, according to the Cape Cod Times.

She also identified stormwater runoff, fertilizer, and erosion as causes of acidification.

More acid in the ocean inhibits calcification which impedes the growth of shells, which means it takes longer for shellfish to grow, the research associate said, according to the Cape Cod Times.

The commission plans to meet four times in 2020 and produce a report to the Massachusetts Legislature in December 2020.

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