Extreme heat waves not only negatively affect the restaurant business but also have detrimental impacts on fish populations. As water temperatures rise, the capacity for holding dissolved oxygen decreases. Consequently, fish become lethargic, moving and feeding less frequently. Therefore, when fish do not feed or move, catching them on a commercial scale becomes significantly more challenging. The recreational wild rockfish season was closed last Saturday, July 15th, for two weeks specifically due to this reason. With current Chesapeake Bay water temperatures in the upper 80s, the struggle the fish endure after being hooked sends them into shock due to the lack of dissolved oxygen, often resulting in death. The release mortality (the percentage of fish that die after being released from hook and line fishing) this time of year exceeds 80%.
Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects fish populations worldwide. The North Atlantic is currently experiencing a marine heatwave of unprecedented proportions. Fish attempt to find cooler water but in many cases, they are unsuccessful. They are forced to remain in place and try to survive until cooler weather arrives.
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