More & More “Southern Species” Showing up in The Chesapeake Bay

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A state-record pompano was caught in Tangier Sound this summer. “Carolina” shrimp are so plentiful in the Chesapeake Bay that the DNR granted the first-ever shrimp trawl permits in Maryland. 300 lbs of Jack Crevalles were caught in a pound net in the York River in Northern Neck, Virginia. Cobia were caught above the Bay Bridge this summer. Lots of ribbonfish were consistently caught at the mouth of the Severn River in Annapolis. And the list goes on and on.

“It’s a sign that things are changing enough to cause shifts in distribution,” said Gwen Brewer, a science program manager with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife and Heritage Service. “We know not everything is going to adjust to those shifts in a positive way. Some species are going to be threatened by those changes.”

Some notable animal sightings, like the manatee that wandered through the Bay in August, represent one individual rather than a trend. But the sheer numbers of others are hard to ignore.

Climate change is responsible for most of these shifts in distribution, and the pace of change is scary.