Marine Heat Wave Hits West Australian Fisheries

The ocean temperature off the west coast of Australia has risen by 10 degrees Fahrenheit and it’s killing off large numbers of valuable seafood stocks reports Babs Mchugh at Australian ABC News. This extreme marine heatwave started a year ago, surprising scientists, and now is damaging commercial fisheries. Dr Rick Fletcher of the Fisheries Department of Western Australia says the temperature increase resulted from several factors. About two years ago the Leeuwin current, which flows down the west coast of Western Australia, [and] brings hot water from the tropics, was flowing quite strongly. It coincided with some very hot air temperatures and very calm conditions, allowing water temperature to increase substantially, he noted. He added that the increase is the most extreme ever recorded off that coast. The impact has devastated several marine shellfish. About 90 percent of the abalone in the northern west coast died off immediately. Over a longer time period, scallop has decreased in Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Islands, key commercial fishing areas. Fewer juvenile and adult crabs are being observed in Shark Bay, a large bay home to many marine species.

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West Australian coastal waters in the grip of marine heatwave. The ocean temperature off the west coast of Australia has risen by five degrees, and the impact has been devastating on several marine species. Australia ABC News


About melharte

Mel (Mary Ellen) Harte is a biologist (PhD) and climate change educator. She co-authored the free online book, COOL THE EARTH, SAVE THE ECONOMY, available at www.CoolTheEarth.US, and writes the CLIMATE CHANGE THIS WEEK column at the HuffingtonPost. Living summers in the alpine Rockies, she is on the frontlines of watching what climate change can do. Her diagnostic digital photographs of wildflowers have appeared in numerous publications.
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