Fish Fry Day: Fish Move as Oceans Warm

It’s Fish Fry Day, when Wisconsin puts fish on the menu and we serve up some delectable fish facts on our blog.

Friday Night Fish Fry. Photo:
Friday Night Fish Fry. Photo:

Today we want to point you toward a Q&A with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries scientist who is trying to track where fish move as ocean waters warm.  In case you expected something more literally limnological (you know, those inland waters and all) the article does remind us of work our own Jim Kitchell is involved in exploring what’s happening to fisheries in the most rapidly warming lake on Earth – Lake Superior.
But, if you don’t mind some seafood on your plate…
Making the Connection Between Climate and Fisheries: An Interview with NOAA Fisheries scientist Jon Hare
Jon Hare with a video plankton recorder—which measures the distributional patterns of live plankton. Credit: NOAA

As the climate changes and the oceans warm, fish populations are moving in search of cooler waters. That is part of the reason why New England fishermen have been catching black sea bass and longfin squid in the Gulf of Maine in recent years, far north of the animals’ usual range. In other places, it’s the absence of a species that’s notable. Just ask lobstermen in the Long Island Sound, who have had little to catch since the range of this valuable species that once supported them shifted north in recent decades.
These changes present a number of challenges both to fishermen, who might need to adapt their business strategies, and to fishery managers, who need reliable information to set sustainable fishing levels.
Jon Hare is the director of the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center Laboratory in Narragansett, Rhode Island, and he studies how physical conditions in the ocean affect fish populations. Hare is a fisheries oceanographer, and his work straddles two disciplines. “When I’m with fisheries people, I’m the oceanographer,” he says. “And when I’m with oceanographers, I’m the fisheries guy.” Keep reading –>

Q&A Article by Rich Press, NOAA Fisheries science writer