Month 6, Day 14: Insert Crustacean Headline Here

A piece at Daily Kos linked to a story about a proposed halt on lobster fishing in southern New England. On a hunch, I checked the Boston Globe website to see if they had a piece about it…and lo and behold, there it was.

Lobstermen and some scientists assert that warming waters, possibly due to climate change, have allowed disease and infections to overtake lobster populations off southern New England, killing many and pushing others farther offshore into deeper, cooler waters.

It’s welcome to have once or twice a week when I’m not just composing responses to the latest idiocy in Washington. The lobster story seemed like a good hook on which to hang a “Yo! Media! Pay some attention to this, okay?” approach.

The proposed moratorium on lobster fishing in the waters south of Cape Cod is a necessary response to a painful reality. As climate change warms the waters, lobsters have grown more susceptible to disease, and their numbers have dwindled significantly. Shrinking lobster populations affect local economies; moratorium or no, it’s the fishermen who’ll take it on the chin.

What’s happening to Cape Cod’s lobstermen is a strong indicator of what to expect over the next decades, as the changing climate cripples indigenous ecosystems in unpredictable ways. All over the world, people whose lives and incomes depend on natural resources will find themselves under significant and unanticipated threat. This is yet another reason to take the threat of catastrophic global warming seriously; the difficulties of the Cape’s lobstermen are a harbinger of disaster. What will it take for our media figures and politicians to pay attention?

Warren Senders

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