Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment

ME - These 50 States: Maine's changing climate threatens lobstering, tourism

Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99% of rest of world

PORTLAND, Maine —The day on the water starts at 3 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. for Maine lobsterman Hugh Bowen.

It's a day that includes a journey 50 miles off the Maine coast to find enough places to fish.

"We're having to go farther and fish harder," Bowen said. "And we think things are OK, but we're working that much harder to make a paycheck."

Maine's lobster industry is the most profitable fishery in the U.S., with lobstermen catching nearly half a billion dollars worth annually.

But those out on the water say that's changing.

"I've definitely got a big concern that lobstering may not be able to be my main source of income," Bowen said.

It's a story Dr. Andrew Pershing, chief science officer at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, says he's hearing from lobstermen all across Maine.

"We're warming faster than 99% of ecosystems around the world," Pershing said.

That warming could lead to drastic changes to Maine's lobster business and its tourism industry by century's end.

Modeling data by the year 2100 "has the coastline of Maine feeling like the coastline of Rhode Island and New Jersey, and that's where we start to lose the lobster fishery," Pershing said.

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