The PJ Tatler

Kiss Your Fish Sticks Good-Bye Thanks to Global Warming

You were warned and now it’s come to this.

Today, Atlantic cod is under threat, especially in the Gulf of Maine. That’s why you won’t find Northwest Atlantic cod in popular food products from Gorton’s fish sticks to the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich, according to a study by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute that was published in the journal Science.

How did this happen? Here’s how: “rapid ocean warming, combined with a failure to detect changes in the environment or to respond appropriately to them, is to blame for the collapse of the Gulf of Maine cod fishery.”

Below, a picture of Matt Smith as Doctor Who with a young Amy Pond eating fish sticks and custard.


The study explains, “Over the last decade, sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Maine increased faster than 99% of the global ocean. The warming, which was related to a northward shift in the Gulf Stream and to changes in the Atlantic Multidecadal and Pacific Decadal Oscillations, led to reduced recruitment and increased mortality in the region’s Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stock. Failure to recognize the impact of warming on cod contributed to overfishing.”

Cod has been “chronically overfished” despite being heavily regulated. This isn’t the fault of fishermen (they aren’t exceeding their cod quotas), but rather “mortality rates have consistently exceeded target levels.” This is because “fisheries’ management wasn’t keeping up with the rise in temperature in setting its annual quotas. In cooler years, when cod numbers could rebound, the quotas were still too high to be sustainable.”

So there you have it. Suppliers have been forced to switch to Alaskan pollock instead of cod. Maybe they can make fish sticks out of pollock?