Over the last few decades, warming ocean temperatures have caused marine species to move to new places. They are leaving some places where temperatures have become too warm for them. And they are invading new places that have now become inhabitable due to increasing temperatures. For example, on both sides of the North Atlantic (the U.S. northeast coast and western European coast), scientists have found that cod have shifted their distribution to higher latitudes, as have several other commercially valuable fish species. In these areas, fishermen are also starting to see more warmer-water fish, like black sea bass in the northeast U.S. and red mullet in northern Europe1.
Last month, the Maine Department of Marine Resources reported that lobsters in the mouth of the Penobscot River contain elevated mercury levels that could threaten human health. Most lobsters have moderate mercury levels, but scientists found that lobsters in the Penobscot River had mercury levels similar to levels found in canned albacore tuna- a species for which there is a mercury consumption warning. Because of this they have closed the area to lobster and crab fishing for two years.
A few days ago, several environmental and food safety groups filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for failing to provide the public with accurate and accessible information about toxic mercury in seafood.