The current herring and invertebrate deaths along the Nova Scotia shore of the Bay of Fundy have folks speculating about cause. One of the persistent claims is that global warming is creating high temperatures in the waters of the Gulf of Maine and Bay of Fundy that are beyond the acceptable levels. Some media are referring to the the warming being faster than 99% of the ocean and the headlines everywhere suggest there is a tragedy taking place. Well, it’s just not true..
While my background in zoogeography certainly accepts the post glacial warming of our oceans and the northward migration of creatures that live there, the time frame is way longer than a few years, and there are no data to suggest that current temperatures are outside the survival range of the fish and invertebrates of the Bay of Fundy.
While this fall and winter are warmer overall so far and the temperature is slightly elevated above the January mean temperature, the NOAA temperature from their site at Eastport, Maine on January 3rd on the west side of the Bay of Fundy is 6.1 degrees Celsius.
Well, a temperature of 6.1 degrees C is totally acceptable to every creature living in the Bay. Over the years those of us who have spent any time on, over, and around the Bay are fully aware that some species don’t leave until temperatures and food dictate that they move south or into deeper water. Many years, for example, whales have stayed in the Bay for most, if not all, of the winter feeding on krill, copepods, and a variety of forage fish species.
Need more convincing? Check out this article for lots of details and analysis.