Chapter 24: Lobsters in a Changing Climate

Chapter 24: Lobsters in a Changing Climate


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This chapter examines the latest information on climate change studies as they affect lobsters and considers case studies of five lobster species; Panulirus cygnus and Jasus edwardsii in Australia; Homarus americanus in the USA and Canada; Panulirus interruptus in the USA and Mexico and Panulirus argus which occurs throughout the Caribbean and as far south as Brazil, but the situations in Mexico, USA, and Cuba are examined as examples. Changes in the ocean include increases in sea temperature, changes in ocean circulation patterns and weather. Sea level is increasing worldwide, the ocean is becoming more acidic; increasing UVR levels, the intensity and spectral distribution of ultraviolet radiation, will effect plankton production in the future, and an increased spread of diseases may also occur. Some of the identified changes that have already occurred to lobsters include movements to deeper water in response to increasing water temperature; changes in growth rates; differing sizes at maturity; increases in catchability; increased abundance of some species and reduced abundance of others. The seasonal timing and the level of settlement of final stages from the plankton are also reported. Assessments of P. cygnus and J. edwardsii found that they are both very sensitive to environmental variables and therefore sensitive to climate change effects. The case studies indicate that other lobster species are similarly sensitive, but it is too soon to say whether the climate change effects will eventually cause long-term increases or decreases in the catches of their fisheries.

Publication Title

Climate Change Impacts on Fisheries and Aquaculture: A Global Analysis



Publication Date


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Contribution to Book


John Wiley and Sons Ltd


New Jersey


climate change, lobsters, settlement, fisheries management, adaptation


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Climate | Marine Biology | Natural Resources Management and Policy

Chapter 24: Lobsters in a Changing Climate