Climate Change Forum Offers Latest in Scientific Data


Biologist Heather Richard (L) with Mary Stack (R) – Both Employed at the Shaw Institute, Blue Hill.  (Stack has a B.S. in Geological Sciences from Boston College).

Praising the Canadian Government, Tracy Wolf, Called for More Nimbleness by Governments in Responding to Changes in the Environment.

Zack Klyver, of Bar Harbor Whale Watch. Blue Planet Strategies

Thomas Heimann, Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation, Rhode Island, Holds a Black Sea Bass of Which he Spoke During “Lightning Talks.”

“It’s wonderful to hear about the latest research and to find people who are doing similar things while finding out how we can work together better with what we do,” said Heather Richard, a Biologist with the Shaw Institute in Blue Hill.  “We monitor the water quality of Blue Hill.  We know that since 2006 it has changed.  We have detected warming trends.”

The two scientists were participants in the week-long “Gulf of Maine 2050 International Symposium” held at the Westin Hotel” – the first forum devoted exclusively to climate change – and hosted by the Portland-based Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

During a segment this afternoon called “Lightning Talks: Adapting to Warming Waters” Thomas Heimann, Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation, introduced the black sea bass (“bsb”) saying that it flourishes in warm waters and is found in mid-Atlantic waters.

During the 90’s, the bsb was overfished and consequently it was shut down for five years.  Following that shut down, it came back and expanded its habitat north – including moving into lobstermen’s lobster traps in the Gulf of Maine.

Lobster traps are not a good habitat for them since they eat lobsters for lunch, dinner and breakfast – yikes!  They have big mouths and no teeth and are able to crack baby lobster shells.  According to Heimann, they are delicious eating and make delicate fillets. Hence, lots of them are shipped overseas or sold in local high-end restaurants.  They are called “Lion Fish of the North” for a good reason. The Gulf of Maine needs to start planning for what is coming. Heimann said he’d like to see some data collection  begun from fishing boats – just how many are being caught in lobster traps?  Do you know?

During the same “Lighting Talks” segment, Zack Klyver, owner of Bar Harbor Whale Watch, said that thirty years ago, there was between 80 – 96% percent certainty that one whale would be seen on an excursion out of Bar Harbor.  Beginning in 2017, that changed dramatically.  That’s when he had to change the trips to accommodate the goal of seeing one whale on each excursion.  Excursions had to be lengthened therefore permitting boats to go a longer distance from shore for sightings of whales.  (Please see on-line research paper of Nicholas R. Record, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, East Boothbay).

“We need a more nimble management structure in government to adapt to climate change,” said Tracy Wolf of Nova Scotia where she is a retired teacher.  “In Canada, we had to struggle to protect the right whale population as many moved into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and there were quite a few deaths.  Shipping speeds had to be severely curtailed during specific times to help protect the whales.  The government was nimble in this example,” she said during a breakout session later in the day.  (See above right photo of Wolf).

Another called for more coverage from the press of scientific findings “making it more digestable and understandable for the public.”

“What we are suffering from is what the industrilized society has done to the earth over the last two centuries,” said Peter G. Wells, Ph. D. of the International Ocean Institute, Nova Scotia.  Friday morning is the final wrap-up session for the first ever Symposium on climate change in Maine.

Please see post herein dated November 4, 2019 for more background information on the Symposium and Governor Mills’ opening remarks.