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Marine Heat Waves Could Have Major Impacts | WDIY Local News

Jeremy Bishop

The Marine Stewardship Council, or the MSC, says that marine heat waves off coasts across the U.S. could last another six months.

In a press release, the NGO which sets a global standard for sustainable fishing warned that these heat waves, combined with the warming oceans as a result of climate change, could have a major and negative impact on fish species in the U.S.

30% of the world’s oceans currently experience marine heatwaves, the largest portion of area to experience warming since 1991.

This warming could have an effect on fish stocks, with species including the black sea bass on the east coast and groundfish on the west coast, which are being pushed further north in search of cooler waters. Seafood supply and entire ocean ecosystems could also be impacted, as warming seas could limit repopulation of some fish species.

The threat of a lowered seafood stock is not new. Between 2014 and 2016, fisheries were forced to close to rebuild fish stocks as a result of marine heat waves along the west coast.

A recent study found that the socio-economic cost of a single marine heatwave exceeded $800 million in direct losses in the U.S.

The MSC says policy makers have to find a way to incorporate stock shifts and climate-smart solutions to safeguard seafood supplies and general ocean health. It will take a broad plan to ensure that oceans will continue to hold life for future generations.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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