Maine Public interviews Wahle about new lobster studies

Maine Public interviewed Rick Wahle, a research professor in the University of Maine School of Marine Sciences and director of the Lobster Institute at UMaine, about two new studies of lobsters along the northeastern Atlantic coast. Wahle is an author of both studies, which look at possible reasons for the dramatic rise in Gulf of Maine population beginning in the ’90s, and why those numbers could start to decline over the next several years, Maine Public reported. “In the Gulf of Maine, what we’ve seen is sort of the brighter side of climate change, if you will, in that the same warming that was going on in southern New England was actually bringing the Gulf of Maine and especially the eastern Gulf of Maine into more favorable temperatures for lobster settlement,” Wahle said. “And ultimately, that area explained the biggest part of the boom that really elevated our fishery to its current status as the most valuable fishery in the nation right now.” According to Wahle, the areas that saw the biggest increases also will see the biggest declines — but not necessarily a collapse. “Maine’s harvesters have really led the way in terms of being stewards of this fishery. We have some of the most conservative conservation measures,” Wahle said. “Having those measures in place can help offset the adverse effect of a warming climate, and forestall some of these declines we may be talking about.”