July 30, 2013

Portland symposium to focus on climate, fisheries

By North Cairn ncairn@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The latest science and ways for fisheries to adapt to rapid environmental change will be the focus of a two-day symposium, "A Climate of Change," in Portland this week.

click image to enlarge

Cod are among the species that are sensitive to changing ocean temperatures.

2006 Associated Press File Photo

The nonprofit Island Institute, based in Rockland, will host the event Wednesday and Thursday to focus on issues facing fishermen and their communities, as well as scientists' findings about affected marine ecosystems.

Reports from fishermen of warming waters and lower stocks over the last several months prompted the symposium, said Susie Arnold, a marine scientist with the Island Institute.

The institute hopes to improve understanding of how climate change is affecting New England fisheries and fishermen and generate discussion about how fisheries management is influenced by those developments. The symposium will also look at steps to incorporate climate change considerations into strategies and public policy governing fisheries.

New England's ocean ecosystems are experiencing some of the most dramatic climate change effects in the U.S., with record-high ocean surface temperatures causing population shifts of temperature-sensitive species, including cod.

The concern is not limited to warming waters. A recent study by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod in Massachusetts suggests that the Gulf of Maine is especially vulnerable to ocean acidification.

Those challenges present an opportunity for multiple agencies to come up with solutions to more than one problem at a time, said Jeff Young, a communications officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts, a partner with the Island Institute in formulating the symposium's agenda.

The symposium will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Portland Company Complex, at 58 Fore St.

North Cairn can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

ncairn@pressherald.com

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