An ocean reef.
An ocean reef. (Photo: Derek Keats)

Global Warming Wiping Out Seafood

Oysters and lobsters affected

An ocean reef.
Caty Enders

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In the news this week, we saw several stories that sketched a grim prognosis for our favorite edible sea creatures. Baby oysters are under immediate threat from the rapidly acidifying oceans, according to Forbes, and in an article from Mother Jones, we learned that warming waters have driven lobsters to cannibalism.

If you live on the east coast, you’re probably well aware that a glut of lobsters has dropped prices through the floor. It has also, unfortunately, driven lobsters to the unthinkable. 

Warming waters can cause lobsters to grow larger and produce more offspring, and the last decade has been the warmest on record in the Gulf of Maine. That, combined with overfishing of lobster predators and an excess of bait left in lobster traps (see info box below), has driven the Maine lobster harvest to thoroughly smash records that stretch back to 1880. One of the side effects of this boom, Oppenheim says, is cannibalism: There are countless lobsters down there with nothing much to eat them and not much for them to eat, besides each other.

Noah Oppenheim, a graduate student in marine biology at the University of Maine, produced the video below, showing the unhappy result.

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Lead Photo: Derek Keats