Record Lobster Production Defies Alarmist Climate Scare

Guest essay by James Taylor

Marine fisheries data show New England lobstermen are benefiting from a new golden age of lobster, thanks in large part to a warming Earth. Yet Democrats in Congress and even lobster lobbyists asserted in House climate hearings earlier in February that global warming is causing a lobster apocalypse. Thankfully, facts and scientific evidence can help us put this latest global warming scare to rest.

On February 7, Democrats in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held hearings with the purpose of raising concern about global warming. Democrats called a witness from a Massachusetts lobster association claiming global warming is reducing the number and availability of lobsters to harvest in New England, specifically in the Gulf of Maine. The witness claimed that ocean acidification is making it more difficult for lobsters to calcify their shells and reach maturity. She also asserted that the Gulf of Maine is warming faster than almost any other ocean region in the world, and that the warming is chasing lobsters from coastal shores into deeper waters, where lobstermen have a more difficult time harvesting them. She further claimed global warming is chasing the lobsters north to Canada.

Overlooking for the moment that Democrats’ PETA allies would consider it good news if global warming were inducing lobsters to relocate to waters where lobstermen can’t reach them, let’s take a look at lobster production in Maine and the rest of New England in recent decades. After 30 years of modest global cooling, global temperatures resumed their post-Little Ice Age warming in the late 1970s. The Maine Department of Marine Resources reports Maine lobstermen caught 16.5 million pounds of lobsters in 1975, at the end of that cooling spell. By 2000, Maine lobstermen caught over 50 million pounds per year. In 2016, Maine lobstermen processed 132.5 million pounds of lobsters. Maine lobstermen now catch approximately 800 percent more lobsters than they did when global warming resumed 40 years ago.

And it is not just Maine. The Democratic witness represents lobstermen in Massachusetts. According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Massachusetts lobster production rose from 6.7 million pounds in 1975 to 15.8 million pounds in 2000 and 17.7 million pounds in 2016. Massachusetts lobster production has nearly tripled as global temperatures modestly rose!

 

In New Hampshire, lobster production has risen from 480,000 pounds in 1975 to approximately 1.7 million pounds in 2009 and 6 million pounds in 2016—more than 12 times more lobster production now than before recent global warming.

Furthermore, as climatologist David Legates testified in the hearing, controlled scientific studies show that adding more carbon dioxide to the air and water aids the growth of crustaceans rather than impedes it.

The irrefutable data show New England lobstermen are benefiting from a mind-blowing increase in lobster production as the Earth has warmed and atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels have increased. Carbon dioxide and global warming appear to have had an even greater and more beneficial impact on lobsters than it has had on global crop production, which is stunning, because crop production has also benefited remarkably. (See here, for the stunning growth in global crop production as the planet has warmed). Yet, somehow, alarmists and even lobster lobbyists claim global warming is causing a lobster apocalypse. How can this be?

The Democratic witness likely believes with all her heart that global warming is harming New England lobster production. The problem is global warming alarmists and the environmental left incessantly barrage people with speculative theories and unsupported claims that global warming is making everything worse. It is easy to fear what we don’t understand, especially when activists tell you that you are becoming a victim as a result.

New England lobstermen will certainly become very worried when they are barraged with claims that global warming is making it tougher for them to succeed at their jobs. The irrefutable facts, however, show that global warming is the best thing that could ever have happened to New England lobstermen.


James Taylor is senior fellow for environment and climate policy at The Heartland Institute.


Then there’s this:

Crawling in crustaceans: Scientists study link between warmer ocean, booming lobster population

Federal scientists are exploring connections between a warming Atlantic ocean and record lobster landings off southwestern Nova Scotia and in the Bay of Fundy.

Adam Cook, lead lobster research scientist for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, said those locations have seen the greatest temperature increases too.

He said there’s clearly a relationship between temperatures and population but other factors are also involved in the remarkable rise in lobster landings, including a decrease in ground fish predators over the same period.

In the lab, warmer temps produce more eggs

With a decade-long rise in temperatures, including record highs in 2012 and 2016, researchers at DFO laboratories in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are now studying the impact of warmer temperatures on egg production, egg quality and moult timing.

“We are seeing often increased egg-development rates, perhaps increased moulting that allows animals to grow faster,” said Cook.

Full story here

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vukcevic
February 8, 2019 2:06 pm

comment image
that does look as a ‘hockey stick’

vukcevic
Reply to  vukcevic
February 8, 2019 2:45 pm

now we have an excellent proxy for the global temperatures as I show here
http://www.vukcevic.co.uk/L-CT4.htm
it’s the Maine’s lobster
No need for all those thousands of the monitoring stations, save millions, follow the fish /sc

NFlaMark
Reply to  vukcevic
February 8, 2019 3:16 pm

I think you may be on to something. Could it be the increase in lobster flatulants is actally causing the increase in Co2?

vukcevic
Reply to  NFlaMark
February 8, 2019 3:23 pm

see my comment to Paul S further down

Trebla
Reply to  vukcevic
February 8, 2019 3:25 pm

If lobsters are migrating to Canada, maybe President Trump could build a wall to prevent that? Just asking.

MarkW
Reply to  Trebla
February 8, 2019 7:16 pm

We’re not socialists, we don’t build walls to keep things in.

Greg
Reply to  Trebla
February 9, 2019 1:47 am

Last few years looks pretty flat. Have we reached “peak lobster”?

I’m sure that by applying standard climatology methods it could be shown that the increase in lobster harvest is “very likely” to be caused by the increase in human released CO2 from burning fossil fuels.

There is a clear “correlation”.

Soon there will a catastrophic number of lobsters and the results will be detectable in the geological strata.

Welcome to the lobstercene

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Greg
February 9, 2019 4:10 am

A catastrophic number of lobsters ……. AGAIN, ….. to wit:

In the 1600s, lobsters were so abundant they would wash up on beaches and Native Americans used them as fertilizer for their crops. Considered to be ‘poor man’s food’, lobster was often fed to prisoners and indentured servants by European colonists. A group of servants once brought their master to court with the accusation that he was serving them lobster too frequently. The judge who oversaw the case ruled that these servants should not have to endure lobster dinners more than three times a week.” 😊

http://www.maine-lylobster.com/2015/09/history-of-lobster-in-culture.html

vukcevic
Reply to  Greg
February 9, 2019 5:31 am

@ Samuel C. C
It is confirmation of the well known 400 year ‘lobster solar cycle’

vukcevic
Reply to  Greg
February 9, 2019 5:41 am

btw. back home, at the desktop, so can’t blame my mobile phone for typing errors, but the browser spell checker still has a tendency to do its own thing.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Greg
February 9, 2019 11:20 am

@vukcevic 😊 😊 Dat t’was a goodern

Bellman
Reply to  vukcevic
February 9, 2019 7:18 am

If true it destroys the notion of a pause.

MarkW
Reply to  Bellman
February 9, 2019 12:11 pm

Only if there is a relationship with weather.

Bellman
Reply to  MarkW
February 9, 2019 1:45 pm

Which was what was claimed, it’s a good proxy with global temperatures. I didn’t take that claim seriously, hence my “if true” opening.

Kenji
Reply to  vukcevic
February 8, 2019 6:06 pm

Isn’t this all due to new, high tech lobster traps and pheromone-scented baits that have boosted harvests … DESPITE the horrifying, ocean acidification that is causing a lobster die-off second only to the dolphin slaughter caused by your fossil fuel consumption. /sarc.

Paul S
February 8, 2019 2:07 pm

Where is the data on the ocean warming? How much has the temperature of the ocean around Maine risen in the last 50 years or so? Does anybody know?

Walt D.
Reply to  Paul S
February 8, 2019 2:56 pm

You normal find Maine lobster, if you are diving, in about 60 -80 feet of water , I crevices on the bottom. Have not been diving there in a long time. One thing I do remember is that the water at that depth is cold. About 55F. You need a full wet suit. The key thing that Congress is not being told is that water gets colder the deeper you go. The “catastrophic microscopic” changes in temperature talked about are well within the range of you moving up or down 10 feet or swimming 100 yards. Also, there are still lobster there that are 70 years old. Clearly they are oblivious to the described “catastrophic microscopic” temperature changes.

Don’t forget, Caribbean Lobsters thrive in much warmer water (75-80F). In the Florida Keys, you can dive without a wetsuit. Or you can wear a thin surfing suit.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Walt D.
February 9, 2019 4:02 am

Lobsters are clawed. The things in the Caribbean are not clawed and are not lobsters, they are more akin to cockroaches Blattodea.

Bill Powers
Reply to  Doug Huffman
February 9, 2019 6:48 am

Funny that, because they taste like lobster and not chicken.

vukcevic
Reply to  Paul S
February 8, 2019 3:21 pm

I don’t think it has much to do with minuscule temperature rise at the sea bottom 20m down. I would guess as the standard of living has gone up so is the market demand for more expensive ‘choice’ food, so it became more profitable enterprise leading to perhaps more efficient and expanding industry.
Boom in the lobster harvesting started in 1990s
“The 1990s were remembered as a time of strong economic growth, steady job creation, low inflation, rising productivity, economic boom, and a surging stock market that resulted from a combination of rapid technological changes and sound central monetary policy.”
wikipedia:1990s United States boom

Phil.
Reply to  vukcevic
February 8, 2019 6:49 pm

The lobster fishery in the gulf of Maine has increased significantly but at the same time the ground fishery has gone into collapse. The cod and haddock fishery is virtually nonexistent at present, the lobster fishery is doing well because of the numbers landed but the price earned by the fishermen hasn’t changed since the early 90s. The change in harvest has nothing to do with the ‘choice’ food as you put it.

As for temperature here’s a graph.

comment image

Alexander Feht
Reply to  Phil.
February 8, 2019 10:30 pm

Russians in Far East seas don’t know, what to do with the excess fish catches. Same is true as Far Eastern river fisheries go. In China and Japan — same story (though Japanese manage to conserve extra fish). Too much fish last two years. Literally mountains of fish are rotting on shores.

Gums
Reply to  Phil.
February 9, 2019 8:20 am

Salute Phil!

Good stuff, and wonder if the collapse of the “ground fish’ is a possible cause for the increase in lobster catch/survival/prosperity…….?

The overfishing of the cod, et al, especially the cod, was a clear example of human-caused ecological tragedy. Despite warnings, the fishermen kept at it with ever increasing use of technological equipment and netting techniques. We saw it here in Florida about the same time that we saw the cod fishery collapse. By the time we got control of the netters, our red drum, mullet, menhaden and other species went thru what the cod did. We still do not see as many nor the size of those schools and such that we did back in the 80’s, and our net restrictions plus recreastional/commercial limits were seriously modified in 1994.

One thing I noticed with the cod fishery collapse was the species that moved into the vacant ecological niche. Could it be that the so-called trash fish and critters provided more for the lobsters to thrive upon?

We have not seen any species significantly thrive here after our net ban and other efforts during the 90’s except the lionfish. And like the big snakes ( burmese pythons), they are becoming a true threat to much of the ecology that existed prior to people releasing pets and so forth.

Now see “Maine” lobsters in our supermarkets that used to cost twice as much, so hurray for the boom. But I hope the lobstermen up in the northeast look at all the environmental facotrs and management of the fishery in order to preclude the disaster of the cod fishermen.

Gums sends…

Ernest Bush
Reply to  Gums
February 9, 2019 3:26 pm

Cod has made a come back somewhere, as you would know if you went shopping for it in frozen food sections or at some restaurants. Alton Brown on the Cooking Network is re-working his old “Good Eats” programs and in the one on frying fish he remarked that he can now confidently recommend Cod again as it has made a comeback and is now stable in population.

Phil.
Reply to  Gums
February 9, 2019 4:52 pm

The US catch of cod has fallen from more than 100 million pounds per year in the early 1980s to about 3.2 million pounds in 2016.

Cod has made a come back somewhere, as you would know if you went shopping for it in frozen food sections or at some restaurants.

Atlantic cod is still readily available to diners and shoppers in the U.S. because of imported fish from countries such as Russia, Norway and Iceland.

DClancy
Reply to  Phil.
February 11, 2019 11:37 am

Do you have a chart going back farther than 1982? Would be interested in something starting in/before the 1930s (generally warm years in the U.S.) or at least before the 1950s (warm years at least in New England as I understand it).

Geordie King
Reply to  vukcevic
February 9, 2019 1:37 pm

Phil- the Gulf Of Maine haddock resource and current landings are huge. Draggers are currently landing 20,000 lb or greater in just haddock on many trips. One dragger landed 130,000 lbs this past week on a 4 day trip. As for cod, they haven’t been this plentiful since the 1980’s. The reason there are no cod landings is because NMFS has allocated such a miniscule quota in the past several years. You must have quota to land fish. Cod quota is currently selling for about $2.00 / lb. which is roughly analogous to ex-vessel price. in other words you would make zilch on cod unless you own that quota. As for lobster this dudes totally out in left field. Anyone who reads or fishes knows that lobster is slowly but surely migrating north and east. That’s likely why Maine has been doing so well in recent years in comparison to her southern neighbors. The southern New England stock collapsed years ago and has never recovered. Anyone with half a brain (and reads unbiased news) knows that.

Phil.
Reply to  Geordie King
February 9, 2019 5:44 pm

The Gulf of Maine haddock are in good shape, the cod fishery is a disaster though.

As for cod, they haven’t been this plentiful since the 1980’s. The reason there are no cod landings is because NMFS has allocated such a miniscule quota in the past several years.

This is bogus, the reason that the NMFS allocated such low quotas is because the cod have almost been wiped out. The stock is only a few % of sustainable levels and the surveys indicate very few large female fish.
You have apparently been listening to Vito Giacolone, the policy director of the Northeast Seafood Coalition, he is not a reliable source.

Greg
Reply to  Paul S
February 9, 2019 1:50 am

How much has the temperature of the ocean around Maine risen in the last 50 years or so? Does anybody know?

go to KNMI climate explorer, choose you dataset for SST and enter the long/lat coords for the region.

ResourceGuy
February 8, 2019 2:12 pm

Up is down….again

February 8, 2019 2:13 pm

Amazing how much speculative and outright false testimony gets pushed before Congressional committees.

This particular witness was invited by democrats to support an agenda that should be crumbling, but for the fact that large dollar grants continue to prop it up.

Thanks for a well written expose, which I’ll circulate among my Maine Lobstermen and fishery friends!!!

BallBounces
February 8, 2019 2:20 pm

The lobster boom is going to depress prices and drive the fishermen out of business. It’s worse than we thought.

tsk tsk
February 8, 2019 2:27 pm

“Well, the trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.” – Ronald Reagan

cbone
February 8, 2019 2:30 pm

I seem to recall speculation somewhere that the booming lobster population is also partly the result of the crash of the cod stocks. With the reduction in predation from Cod the lobster stock has boomed.

Robert
Reply to  cbone
February 8, 2019 3:17 pm

Well cod seem to be making a comeback. https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/the-cod-are-coming-back-to-newfoundland-and-theyre-eating-the-shrimp-that-had-taken-over
I suspect that cod as well as other species did like they did in the 1940’s and simply moved to where temperatures were more to their liking rather than experiencing an actual decline in numbers.https://ia801702.us.archive.org/8/items/glaciervariation00ahlm/glaciervariation00ahlm.pdf
The movement of species was observed and reported at that time. Global warming advocates simply choose to ignore the fact and hope that the rest of us will not discover the documentation of these behaviors.

Theyouk
Reply to  Robert
February 8, 2019 4:11 pm

Interesting sentence in that PDF: “Concerning the immense recession in Glacier Bay—over 60 miles since the 18th century, of which 16 have been since 1892—I am of the opinion that the most noteworthy fact is the advance of the glaciers in the eight- eenth century rather than the recession which followed.”
This point is lost on those who neither know nor care to know of the LIA.

Reply to  Theyouk
February 8, 2019 8:56 pm

I don’t know what Glacier Bay has to do with lobsters, but Hubbard Glacier has been advancing since 1895, and is a much larger (largest tidewater glacier in North America outside of Greenland) So if you want to cherry-pick a glacier…pick Hubbard – which is not far from Glacier Bay.

Reply to  Theyouk
February 8, 2019 9:11 pm

Oops, forgot the link:

https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-001-03/

HD Hoese
Reply to  cbone
February 8, 2019 4:04 pm

Early in the rise, as shown in the graph, this was noted, blame of cod decrease on fishing mortality and/or “environmental changes.” Parsons, L. S. and J. S. Beckett. 1997. Fisheries management in Canada: the case of Atlantic groundfish. American Fisheries Society Symposium 20:73-79. Old fisheries dilemma, can’t have all species at maximum yield at the same time.

We need to send all these ‘acidifiers’ back to chemistry and biology classes.

troe
February 8, 2019 2:41 pm

The climate scare is wonderful for pumping money to favored constituencies. Facts be damned. This has been the way of our politics since before the beginning of the Republic.

Business as usual and The Left is dangerously nuts.(actually that falls under business as usual)

Marcos
February 8, 2019 2:42 pm

Are they actually measuring temps at the ocean floor where the lobsters live?

n.n
February 8, 2019 2:48 pm

Despite… because of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, the children will not be hungry, nor know the stress of deprivation, and the snow will fall [down] tomorrow, seasonally.

Michael S. Kelly, LS BSA, Ret
Reply to  n.n
February 8, 2019 7:13 pm

All of this Maine lobster talk is certainly making me hungry. Jus’ sayin’

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly, LS BSA, Ret
February 9, 2019 4:12 am

About thirty years ago I went to a technical school in Groton, CT, and walked past a lobster pound everyday. Most days I bought a chicken-lobster for dinner.

Now a days I get along on poor-man’s ‘lobster’, burbot pout-eel, locally ‘lawyer’. Once upon a time, 50,000 pounds of burbot liver was sold annually for fish-liver-oil. There may be only one fisherman intentionally taking lawyers.

When we are gone the burbot stocks will slowly recover as I can’t imagine a Millennial eating so ugly.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Doug Huffman
February 9, 2019 4:17 am

Ted Rowell founded the Burbot Liver Products Company, later Rowell Laboratories, Inc., of Baudette, Minnesota.

Curious George
February 8, 2019 3:02 pm

It is an apocalypse. Do you believe that a lobster enjoys being eaten by a Democratic Congressperon?

Andrew Burnette
Reply to  Curious George
February 8, 2019 3:32 pm

They probably dislike the cooking part more than the eating part.

Gunga Din
February 8, 2019 3:27 pm

What reality doesn’t defy the “Alarmist Climate Scares”?
(OK. I admit its been unseasonably cold for my little spot on on the globe. That fits with “The Coming Ice Age” scare from the ’70’s’. But didn’t they change their tune?)

Tom Halla
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 8, 2019 7:42 pm

OMG!! It actually snowed here today in Cottonwood Shores Texas!!! All of 31F. We are all gonnna die!!! Who cares it is fairly normal every few years? So the lobsters are doing well. Something else must, must be doing perfectly dreadful. One must keep up the panic.

MarkW
February 8, 2019 3:29 pm

Weren’t lobsters supposed to have been dissolved by now?

Wharfplank
February 8, 2019 3:32 pm

Be interesting to see the landings broken down by region , say Portland south vs Brunswick to Downeast.

michael hart
February 8, 2019 3:34 pm

It has a nice ring to it , the dawning of “the golden age of lobsters”.
Is there a Chinese year of the lobster?

jtom
Reply to  michael hart
February 8, 2019 5:15 pm

And with the changes being made in dietary advice foisted on us, you could call this the dawning of “the golden butter age of lobsters.”

Kris
February 8, 2019 3:39 pm

Jordan Peterson would be happy to hear this

Kenji
Reply to  Kris
February 8, 2019 6:10 pm

And here I thought the lobsters were getting “smarter” … by avoiding traps all these past years. Seems as though their brains are still limited to chasing food … even when presented in a death chamber.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Kenji
February 9, 2019 4:19 am

JBP makes it clear that lobster brains dissolve due to stress – of hierarchy competition, of being enclosed in small spaces, and of being shown boiling water.

troe
February 8, 2019 3:44 pm

In the late 70’s I worked the Northeast Atlantic coast.

1) Over fishing “In 1992 the Canadian Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, John Crosbie, declared a … From the 1950s onwards, as was common in all industries at the time, new technology was introduced that allowed … group of stakeholders – the ecosystem was brought past its threshold and collapsed, leaving everyone worse off” Correct

2) Fish populations are know to move about. This has been going on for a very long time.

3) If you can claim economic victim hood there may be a check in it for you.

Money for nothing is hard to reject when the alternative is changing how you make a living. Ask the state employee steel workers in China

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7
February 8, 2019 3:49 pm

Several years back there was a WUWT post on a report that rising ocean temps were causing lobster cannibalism (first time ever observed — worse that we thought!). Totally bogus of course; lobsters naturally eat other lobsters, which explains why there is no such thing as “farm-raised” lobsters.

It would be interesting to also have data on changes in average lobster weight — we may just be over-harvesting in response to consumer demand.

leitmotif
February 8, 2019 3:50 pm

“lobster lobbyists “, I love it.

Maybe they can lobby for a new claws at the House climate herrings.

Rob_Dawg
February 8, 2019 4:06 pm

There’s no here here. The increase is due to better management and better technology. Any temperature effects are lost in the data noise when compared to management and harvest tech.

There is a downside. While vactioning at one of the summer houses last October (Chatham, Cape Cod, MA) we found 3+ pound lobbies were cheaper per pound than the usual 2 1/2 to 2 3/4ths pound bugs. The economics of lobby prices is complex. These days big critters are less desirable because they are older. Older means tougher. In times past of over harvesting big crustaceans were the uncommon fast growers commanding a higher price.

Pro tip. Above 2 1/2 pounds you start paying more for shell than meat. Above 3 pounds you risk less tender flesh.

Pro pro tip. Bad lobster dinners beat just about any good dinner every time.

Rud Istvan
February 8, 2019 4:52 pm

I looked up this Maine lobster thing up some years ago as a possible essay for ebook Blowing Smoke. The main factor seems to be the famous overfishing of bottom feeding cod, NOT water temp. Cod not only eat lobster food, they eat baby (larveal) lobsters. So exploding Maine lobster populations didn’t make the energy/climate cut.

Gums
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 9, 2019 2:18 pm

Thanks Rud,

That was the point I was making at a previous reply.

In the real, un-modeled natural world, species will move in when another decreases or “goes away’.

As with a farm, and crop rotation and so forth, it takes some effort to get the maximum return from the acreage or square miles of ocean or even the acres of catfish ponds we have down here in the south.

Gums sends…

Joel
February 8, 2019 5:30 pm

Another article without any input from the people involved: the lobster fishermen. Last I heard was they were mad. They have to harvest 2x the lobsters. to get the same income. And, Canadians were complaining of unfair competition. Most of the catch is canned in Canada.

Dave
February 8, 2019 5:53 pm

Sure lobster production is up in the real world. But what are the numbers in the computer model?

Joel O'Bryan
February 8, 2019 6:06 pm

The pressing question is “Can the butter production keep up with the lobster production?”

And I must add as someone who been “Down-East” a few times, it is not “Lob-ster”, but “Lob-stah.”
But now I live in Tucson, and I can’t get thayr from heeya.

jim hogg
February 8, 2019 6:29 pm

A comment from a former lobster fisherman of long experience: lobster larvae go into the water column – the planktonic stage – for approximately 15-30 days after detaching from the egg bearing female lobster. During the planktonic stage they are very vulnerable, obviously, to filter feeders of every kind. When pelagic (midwater) fish stocks fall – as they have been doing due to excess fishing effort for decades – lobster larvae predation is reduced and lobster stocks rise. Temperature change may be a factor too, for this reason: warmer water means lobster larvae spend less time in the water column because their growth rate is increased. And less time in the water column means less exposure to predatory consumption. I suspect the decreasing midwater fish stocks may be the more significant factor.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  jim hogg
February 8, 2019 7:06 pm

Over off the US West coast there is something similar going on with sea stars, urchins, abalone and kelp.

First off, the sea stars are voracious predators on sea urchins and abalone. And urchins eat kelp. But apparently kelp forests are good (for some reason), since their ubiquitous presence of West coast beaches seems “normal” to our short time there.
(part of “The Garden of Eden” syndrome, i.e., everything in nature was in perfect balance and harmony until human’s with knowledge came along.)
And Abalone provide food for the sea otters among others.

The sea stars have been undergoing a massive die-off of late from Baja Califonia to British Columbia. This is leading to more sea urchins and more abalone. Which could mean a thinning of kelp forests and make for very fat sea otters apparently.
Now back to the sea stars and their problem: it is an ugly sloughing-off of their arms then turning to a mush pile. The biologists call it SSWD, sea star wasting disease. No one knows what is causing it. Lots of ideas. A fungus? A bacteria? A virus? Immune system break down in sea stars?
But sea stars have been around for several hundred million years, long enough for this kind of event to not be unprecedented in their evolutionary history.
But of course, with rent-seekers always in seek of rent, the marine bio-scientists are claiming it is higher water temps causing SSWD without a shred of evidence. Only guesswork. Only fear-mongering.

P.S. I’m writing this from memory without going a doing a bunch of new online reading-research. So I’m sure I’ve some minor details of SSWD wrong.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 8, 2019 7:43 pm

This is one of those “who-dun-its” that I’m surprised Willis or a Jim Steele hasn’t picked up on and reported in a post here at WUWT.
So:
Willis, Jim: Sea star wasting disease (SSWD). Please dive in… someone with expertise and personal interest.

A primer:
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/01/shocking-undersea-plague-obliterating-key-ocean-species

– and maybe a reason not to be alarmed. Maybe that this is part of nature’s way of adaptation to change:
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/unknown-mutation-saving-sea-stars-wasting-disease

P.S. We need like the Willis version of the BatMan search light logo in the sky to call in Willis to investigate Who-dun-it climate claim. Yes, we need the Big W, but the triggered Libs would take that the wrong way for sure.

Doug Huffman
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 9, 2019 4:24 am

I doubt that I’ll ever enjoy an abalone dinner again, hearing that the cost is ~UD$100. My most recent abalone dinner was at Original Joe’s (First and San Carlos, San Jose) for $15!!!

I believe that the sea otters have had a large impact.

jim hogg
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 9, 2019 5:10 am

Thanks for that Joel. I’m Scotland based and primarly lobster focussed (our lobsters and yours (homarus gammarus and homarus americanus are very similar) so had no knowledge of this. I see large scale die offs were also recorded in the 70s, 80s and 90s but not on quite the same scale. My guess would be that a corrective mechanism is at work to maintain some kind of balance between the competing interests on the seabed; an evolutionary device activated when the population of a single species becomes too high – perhaps due to a slight dietary change necessitated by its dominance, or, more likely I suspect, a population density threshold that allows more effective spread of a pathogen.

Nature has been playing that corrective trick of checking population growth with disease for aeons it seems. It’s one that homo sapiens does battle with constantly.

A slight increase in temperature is unlikely to be the cause I’d guess, because they survive the annual sea temperature change, and the temperature difference between the north and south extremes of their geographical spread, is likely to be more significant than the average rise since the last die off? Plus, if their life span is a short 4-20 years (?) then I suspect their capacity to adapt will be more than enough to cope with whatever long term temperature change they have to contend with – within reason!!

But, you’re right; Willis and Jim Steele are the guys to do the job scientifically. They have the patience to search through the stats in search of the killer (oops – npi) detail, and the discipline to set out the argument and evidence effectively. I’d be interested to see what they come up with if they’ve spotted your comment.

Spuds
Reply to  jim hogg
February 9, 2019 8:20 am

Of course improvements in overall water quality and better fisheries management may have also played a substantial role in lobster population increases despite any changes in water temperature. Humans themselves cannot change the climate but we can help eliminate and/or reduce negative impacts upon the environment. Somehow if we can’t get that concept through to the alarmists out there, we will be the sole perpetrators of our own extinction.

Walter Sobchak
February 8, 2019 7:03 pm

A warmer world is healhtier, happier, more prosperous world.

Alexander Feht
February 8, 2019 7:18 pm

Russians don’t know, what to do with the extreme amount of fish caught in the Far East amd in the Sea of Japan. Not only lobsters, it’s the whole eco-system, forests, and agriculture thriving with little extra CO2 — but without any “predicted” warming.

Gary
February 8, 2019 8:18 pm

The lobster fishery may be doing well north of Cape Cod, but it’s crashed to the south (NJ, NY, CT, RI). The warmer water may be a cause, although reports of a shell disease are common and the cause may be pollution-related. Cape Cod forms a boundary between the northward flowing Gulf Stream and the southward (counterclockwise) flow of cold currents in the Gulf of Maine.

Johann Wundersamer
February 9, 2019 1:05 am
griff
February 9, 2019 1:07 am
F.LEGHORN
Reply to  griff
February 9, 2019 2:41 pm

Bit of a red herring. And from such a worthy (sarc) organization.

rah
Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
February 9, 2019 4:07 am

This trucker has never hauled live lobster. Just frozen lobster, crab, and fish. Funny thing. They sent me in to pick up a load at an old fishing port north of Boston. Always interesting driving a big rig pulling a 53 ft. refer trailer in those old towns where the roads are based on the old wagon trails and the front doors of the houses open right up on the street. They loaded me with 5 different types of fish. Two of them were imported from China and one from Vietnam, the other two US. The USDA had pulled a carton from a skid for inspection and the shipper tried to load it that way until I called them on it. They replaced the carton. Just the petty crap a driver has to deal with that can get him/her into trouble and the reason I don’t want to pull those kinds of loads. Hauling produce can be just as bad.

Kurt in Switzerland
February 9, 2019 2:14 am

I watched the hearing, which I found rather humorous.
What a crass display of play-acting, emphasizing emotion over rational discourse!

Would love to have been there to offer simple logical counter-points to some of the more ridiculous arguments of the would-be climate protectors, thereby enabling the level-headed panelists to expose the farce.

For example, if ‘Climate Change’ is now causing lobster boats to have to travel further from shore to harvest lobsters, how would ‘Climate Policy’ mitigate this problem for those dependent on lobster?

(Hint: ‘climate policy-makers’ openly favor increasing the price for Diesel fuel, ostensibly to foment low-carbon transportation. So would this help or hinder the lobster-carchers’ bottom line?)

john
February 9, 2019 6:45 am

The larger catches reported include a 3 month shutdown off of the NE coast to protect whales, March-May.

NE restaurants and seafood dealers had to buy lobster from Canada, which remained open.

Prices rocketed from $6.00/lb to $25.00/lb and had to be special ordered.

john
February 9, 2019 7:02 am

Lobsters aren’t the whales problem.

Whale watching boats, high soeed ferrys are.

https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/shipstrike/news/shipstrike03.pdf

john
February 9, 2019 7:09 am

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/jun/27/-sp-whale-watching-boats-pose-greatest-threat-to-whales

Memo to eco fiends…

Keeps your boats away from whales and please do not feed the Polar Bears, lest you become the main course.

stonehenge
February 9, 2019 9:35 am

Good post, but if fishermen catch fish, do lobstermen catch lobst? And if there’s such a thing as lobster lobbyists, what about fish fishbyists?

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  stonehenge
February 10, 2019 4:32 am

No,

IF

fishermen catch fish,

THEN

lobstemen catch lobs.

Philo
February 9, 2019 1:48 pm

A few years ago, circa mid 2000’s I saw a number of stories about Maine lobstermen going ecological. The catches were dropping and getting smaller. So quite a number of them got together and agreed they were overfishing. So they decided to reduce catches so some lobsters would grow bigger and produce more eggs.

The self regulation apparently worked because there was news a few years later that the catch was up again.

They may or may not have been right, but the graphs above show that the lobster fishery is alive and well. It’s a good story of cooperation in the face of adversity whether or not it had an actual effect.

Phil.
Reply to  Philo
February 9, 2019 4:56 pm

One strategy that has seemed to be effective in Maine is the practice of V-tailing females with eggs. If a female with eggs is landed a V-notch is cut in its tail and it’s returned alive. Any lobster landed with a V-notch is returned in attempt to maintain the breeding female population.

February 9, 2019 8:52 pm

The Left are convincing me more and more that the earth is Actually flat!They have gone so far left they fell off the edge!Stupid liberals!The left are morons!interesting read!TY Tom,cct

Johann Wundersamer
February 10, 2019 4:22 am

OT: better than 1 XL keystone pipeline – every now and then?

https://goo.gl/images/PtzWN5

DClancy
February 11, 2019 11:46 am

Would be great to see an addendum to this article w/ long-term temp data for the Gulf of Maine. I have seen articles w/ data going back a few decades (one such chart is posted by a commenter above — back to 1982), but they don’t answer the obvious question whether warming in recent decades is part of a slow up-down-up etc.cycle in this region. (Lots of comments here about lobsters living deep down. Good point. But higher-up long-term temp data would at least be circumstantial evidence of what the lobsters are actually experiencing.)

Edwin
February 13, 2019 10:36 am

Once involved in with fisheries management when the lobster “explosion” began back in the 1980s, global warming has damned little to do with the increasing in abundance. The game is basically a predator prey issue. Gross overfishing of ground fish from the Middle Atlantic north the Newfoundland dramatically reduced lobster predators. So surprise you got more lobsters.

Had a friend, a meteorologists, who inherited a lobster license about the time the lobster increase began. He gave up meteorology.

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