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New England Cod Stock In Decline Due To Warming Waters In The Atlantic

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The cod fishing industry is threatened by the warming waters in the Atlantic. Cod fish population is in continuous decline despite efforts to reduce the number of fish caught.

Fishermen have been fishing for cod in the Atlantic Ocean for the last 400 years, and it was cod that attracted English men to go fishing in North America. 

However, with the predicament imposed by climate change in the oceans of the Atlantic, cod fishing is on the brink of destruction due to the declining population of cod fish and the increased demand for catch.

According to a study published in the journal Science, cod stocks are on the verge of collapse with only 3 to 4 percent of sustainable levels despite efforts to cut fish catch to at least slow the rapid decline. The increase in the temperature of the waters in Atlantic Ocean was linked to changes in the position of the Gulf Stream and climate oscillations in the Atlantic and the Pacific. 

Scientists are alarmed by the increasing temperatures of the waters in the Atlantic which are greatly affecting cod stocks. Change in temperature mostly affects ocean animals because it influences the abilities of species to thrive. Warm waters also affect spawning, which has crucial impact on fish population growth and decline. 

Ocean animals like cod fish have a specific threshold when it comes to the temperature of water. They may die when they reach beyond their maximum threshold of water temperature for survival. Temperature also influences the location and timing of spawning, which can affect the growth and survival of young cod.

Scientists predict that when the waters in the Gulf of Maine would reach beyond the temperature ideal for survival of these animals, they could disappear. The decline of cod stock and regulation of fishing also threatened the economic status of New England.  

Cod has been an important economic product in international markets since the Viking period. History recorded that Vikings and Basques were the first ones from Europe to travel to North American waters to fish for cod. In later years, more explorers discovered cod fishing. They initially concentrated in Iceland but when competition grew, they moved to the coast of Newfoundland, now called New England.

Photo: Anna Barnett | Flickr

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