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Global Warming is Making it Impossible for Cod Populations to Recover

Update Date: Oct 30, 2015 01:19 PM EDT
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Global warming is making it impossible for the fish species cod to recover despite a number of human efforts to protect what little population is left of the North Atlantic fish.

The warmer temperatures that have come to define the Gulf of Maine of late reduce the reproduction rate of cod and increases the likelihood they will die, The New York Times reports.

Strong restrictions on cod fishing were put in place in 2010 that made it nearly impossible for anyone to legally catch the fish, whether recreationally or commercially. Typically, such restrictions give a fish species enough time to breed and multiply, bringing a depleted population close to healthy levels. In the case of cod however, the restrictions have not had the desired effects, and scientists think global warming is the cause.

These restrictions were eventually rolled back and quotas for how many fish could be caught were put in place. The scientists say however, that the quotas did not account for changes in temperature and their impact on the cod population. This means that the quotas were set far too high for the cod population to truly recover.

For the cod population to truly recover in line with previous predictions, it would take anywhere from two to eight more years than the current 10 years that is the maximum time the government estimates it would take for a fish population to recover.

While ocean temperatures worldwide have been rising for decades as a result of global warming, the rate of increase in the Gulf of Maine was the most dramatic. The researchers said that of the world's oceans, temperatures in the Gulf of Maine rose faster than 99.9 percent of the rest of the world.

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