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National Briefing / East Coast

Changed ecosystem seen in Atlantic waters

September 02, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Ocean waters off the Northeast and the mid-Atlantic region have fundamentally altered in the last 40 years because of climate change, commercial fishing pressures and growing coastal populations, the 2009 Ecosystem Status Report says.

Fish populations from North Carolina to Maine have moved from their traditional home grounds because of a changing environment and human activities, the report found. The research team looked at variables such as water temperatures, circulation patterns, fishing pressure, pollution and habitat loss in a 100,000-square-mile area off the Northeast and mid-Atlantic coast. A recurring theme of the report is that the ecosystem is changing.

The leader of the study was Michael Fogarty of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Falmouth, Mass.

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