If ocean waters continue to warm at the expected rate, little baby lobsters might not be able to survive in their present habitat in 85 years.
Per The Guardian, a study performed by scientists affiliated with the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine said that lobster larvae struggled to survive when they were reared in water five degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the typical temperatures of the western Gulf in Maine, which is a central lobster fishing area off of New England.
For context, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects the Gulf of Maine’s temperature to be five degrees warmer by the year 2100.
That means bad news for the lobster industry, as well as for anybody who likes to enjoy the seafood as a meal on occasion.
The paper was published in the scientific journal ICES Journal of Marine Science.
Jesica Waller, one of the study’s authors, told The Guardian: "There has been a near total collapse in Rhode Island, the southern end of the fishery, and we know our waters are getting warmer. We are hoping this research can be a jumping-off point for more research into how lobsters might do over the next century.”
At the moment, the lobster industry is actually enjoying quite a boom: For seven years straight, they’ve brought in more than 100 million pounds of lobster. If the rising ocean temperatures continue and do become uninhabitable to lobsters, the seafood stock will drastically decline.
Interestingly enough, the higher water temperatures also have the effect of making baby lobsters mature at a super-fast rate. Unfortunately, not many of these lobsters will survive long enough to stave off other predators or do other cool, mutant-lobster things in the high temperatures.