News Stories

Fewer Lobsters, Except in Maine

Butterfliesand birds aremissing from some areas and turning up in others?and now thesame thing is happening with lobsters. There are fewerlobsters than there used to be everywhere along the EastCoast except Maine, where there are more lobsters than everbefore. Scientists are trying to discover why this ishappening.

Jeff Donn writes that some researchers think overfishing isthe problem, but that doesn't account for the huge lobstercatches in Maine. The same is true for diseases, pollutants,and predators?why would Maine be exempt?

The answer could be global warming, which is warming thesouthern waters where lobsters can be found. Maine, being sofar north, is still cold enough for them to livecomfortably, so they are thriving there.

Researcher Alistair Dove tried to figure out what affects alobster's metabolism and says, "That was the first time wethought of temperature." If lobsters were overheating, excess acid should accumulate in their blood.

When his assistant Mark Sokolowski tested for this, he foundevidence of it right away. It was so obvious that he says,"Quite honestly, I thought there was something wrong withthe probe, with the meter, something I was doing wrong."

Pat White of the Maine Lobstermen?s Association hopes thewaters off Maine don?t start to warm up as well. He says,"We're hoping our cold water will keep it to the south,because so much of our economy is dependent on lobstering.If it hit us, it'd be a disaster."

When we asked for your input about missing birds andbutterflies, Patricia wrote: "My husband and I have noticedover the past week or two that the birds are missing from Massachusetts, or at least 15 miles north of Boston.We?ve always had a ton of birds locally, but now there areno birds chirping in the morning, only one or two flying inthe sky and no birds on the telephone wires. What gives?"

Pat writes: "This has been a strange year on our farm incentral New Mexico and east of the Sandia/Monzano Mountains.I have seen bird species not typically found here and largeblack butterflies that are definitely not swallowtails. Weare lacking the usual Monarch migration, when we usually seea few hundred of the little beauties at a time. This year,our Rio Grande toads didn't have a successful hatch, as theyhave had in previous rainy years (some people think thewater was too warm). We have also seen rather unusual andconsistent cloud formations we call UFO clouds. Often timesthey will stay in place as other clouds buzz by."

When most of us see lobsters, we can't help but say,I'mstill hungry (and now it's onsale!)

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