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editorial

Climate change: New England crab chowder

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Goodbye lobster, hello blue crab? Farewell to cod and haddock, welcome croaker and golden tilefish? In a troubling and far-reaching study of fish migration, recently published in the journal Nature, scientists from the University of British Columbia found that global warming is causing some species previously seen only in warm-water climates to push northward. The Pacific Northwest is seeing giant squid come up from Mexico. The British are finding more red mullet and less cod. Scandinavians are seeing swordfish come up from the Mediterranean. West Coast salmon are being forced to find more northerly rivers to spawn.

As for New England, surf clams are becoming more established here, while a processing plant in their former home base of Virginia has closed. But it also means that some iconic cold-water species, such as cod, may swim farther north or away from warmer coastal waters. Princeton fisheries researcher Malin Pinsky, who last year charted northward shifts in the populations of flounder, red hake, and lobster, offered this suggestion, only slightly tongue in cheek: New Englanders should think about adding a little Chesapeake Bay crab to their chowder.

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