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Ecosystem Status Report for the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (2009)
Michgael Fogarty (au)
This report shows that fish in U.S. waters from Cape Hatteras to the Canadian border have moved away from their traditional, long-time habitats over the past four decades because of fundamental changes in the regional ecosystem. The report also points out the need to manage the waters off the northeastern coast of the U.S. as a whole rather than as a series of separate and unrelated components. Known as the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem (NES LME), the ecosystem spans approx. 100,000 sq. miles and supports some of the highest revenue-generating fisheries in the nation. During the past 40 years, the ecosystem has experienced extensive fishing by domestic and foreign fleets, changes in ocean water temperatures due to climate change, and pressures from increasing human populations along the coast. This report highlights the need to understand natural and human-related changes in this region and to develop effective management and mitigation strategies. There are many pressures on the ecosystem including fishing, pollution, habitat loss from coastal development, and impacts on marine life from shipping and other uses of the ocean. In addition, changing climate conditions are warming ocean waters, changing ocean chemistry and circulation patterns, and altering atmospheric systems. These changes have, in turn, been linked to changes in the distribution and abundance of fish species in the region and their major sources of food.” Figures.
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