R-18-04 Understanding climate impacts on the Maine coastal fish and invertebrate community through synthesis of the Maine-New Hampshire Inshore Trawl

Lisa Kerr
Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Kathy Mills
Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Andrew Pershing
Gulf of Maine Research Institute

The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than most of the world oceans. Increasing temperatures are reshaping the ecosystem in ways that are difficult to keep pace with and manage. Species of fish and other marine life are shifting northward. Surveys by the federal government (National Marine Fisheries Service) show the overall number of species present in offshore waters is increasing. Do these trends hold true for nearshore waters? Since 2000, the marine resource agencies of Maine and New Hampshire have collaborated to survey fish and invertebrates in coastal waters. This project will synthesize data collected through the Maine-New Hampshire Inshore Trawl Survey, and place it in the context of other surveys in the region.

Kerr, Mills, and Pershing will characterize changes in species diversity and model species distribution to understand changes in habitat suitability in space and time and analyze predator-prey presence, with a focus on lobster and cod. They will also assess the extent to which changes in ecological communities are related to fishery landings in Maine ports.

Synthesizing existing data will show, efficiently and effectively, how environmental change and human activities are affecting fish and invertebrate communities in coastal Maine waters, allowing people to anticipate and prepare for future resource scarcity and abundance.

Two-year project, 2018-2020
Sea Grant funds $149,943