Kavitha George, Alaska's Energy Desk - Kodiak
Marine heatwaves will cripple salmon, cod and pollock at twice the rate previously predicted, study says
Slight rises in sea temperatures can cause dramatic collapses in the reproduction of some fish and patches of warm water in the Gulf of Alaska can have particularly severe affects for important fish stocks.
After 10 years of certification, Gulf of Alaska cod will have its blue-sticker sustainability label suspended starting April 5, 2020.
In 2008, Cook Inlet belugas were listed as endangered. Still numbers continue to drop. With new analysis methods today there are even fewer whales than previously thought — less than 300, and steadily declining from there.
The first blob decimated fisheries, caused a mass seabird die-off, and spurred toxic algal blooms up and down the coast. As Alaska braced for the second heat wave, it disappeared — at least for now.
Climate change is threatening Alaska’s longstanding reputation for sustainable fisheries.
When the last “Blob” hit the Pacific, an area of the ocean larger than Canada experienced surface ocean temperatures rise as much as 7 degrees, completely altering the marine ecosystem for more than two years. The result was havoc in the food chain.
In an unprecedented response to historically low numbers of Pacific cod, the federal cod fishery in the Gulf of Alaska is closing for the 2020 season.
Battered by a marine heatwave, Kodiak’s cod fishermen may not be fishing in the Gulf for much longer
They’re now below the federal threshold that protects cod as a food source for endangered Stellar sea lions. As soon as the population dips below that line, the fishery closes. The whole federal cod fishery in the Gulf could be shut down for the season in January.