By Gregory B. Hladky
11:08 AM EDT, September 21, 2012
If you want some additional stuff on global warming to worry about, there's a new federal report out that water temperatures off the northeastern U.S. coast this year were the highest ever recorded.
The study found that some areas, such as Chesapeake Bay had surface water temps more than 11 degrees Fahrenheit above normal this year. Long Island Sound wasn't specifically mentioned, but you can bet those offshore temperatures didn't do much good for our depleted lobster population.
Connecticut fisheries experts have long blamed the Sound's rising temperatures for the drop in the lobster population. They say warmer waters make this cold-water species more vulnerable to disease and pollution.
A new study is now underway to determine if anti-West Nile pesticides may also be in play in the demise of our lobster fishery. Connecticut fishermen have been saying that for years and recently researchers found weak and dying lobsters with traces of those pesticides.
Meanwhile, the federal experts from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center who conducted the new water temperature study say they're not sure what these warmer waters will mean.
One result was an early and intense plankton bloom - one of the biggest in history for these minute sea creatures. But what that means for whales and other creatures that depend on the planton isn't at all clear.
Here's one other interesting possibility: A couple of years ago Long Island Sound fishermen began reporting blue crabs in the Sound in remarkable numbers. Blue crabs, unlike lobsters, love the warmer waters.
Makes you wonder if our Sound will eventually become famous for crabs the way the Chesapeake is today.
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