Lobster fishing boats docked behind stores in a canal in Portland Maine with lobster traps and fishing tools stacked on the dock. These waters are rising and warming with the climate crisis.

February 19, 2022

A study published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in August 2021 found the Gulf of Maine, which stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, is warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans. With warming oceanic temperatures comes sea level increases.

Portland, Maine experiences flooding during high tides now on a regular basis.

Sam Belknap, a Senior Community Development Officer at The Island Institute, a Rockland-based nonprofit organization aimed at helping Maine’s island and coastal communities tackle environmental and socio-economic issues, said every coastal community in Maine is facing a unique set of challenges incited by the climate crisis Taking the initiative to see how important coastal infrastructure could be impacted puts communities in a better position to protect themselves.

“Working waterfronts play such a critical role in all our coastal communities; they’re the critical interface where the ocean meets our economy. Making sure they’re as resilient as possible is critical to the long-term success of our coastal economy and these communities, said Belknap.

Communities who conduct resilience analysis and gain an idea of what work needs to be done to protect coastal areas from climate change are also usually more likely to win grants to have that work done, said Belknap.

Belknap addled that warming waters impact what species of fish or crustaceans inhabit Maine waters and, once caught, fuel the economy, so having the foresight to research and prepare will put the state in a better position to adapt to future changes.

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