But deep down, we know better. And if the national discussion hasn’t moved to climate change in the Northeast yet, it soon will. The effects are already profound—they just happen to be underwater.
Fourth-generation fisherman Al Cottone holds no illusions of being spared climate impacts in 2019. He captains one of the 15 fishing boats still active in the waters around Gloucester, Massachusetts. Not a decade ago, there were 50. To fish in the Gulf of Maine—the ocean inlet spanning from Cape Cod up to the southern tip of Nova Scotia—is to navigate one of the fastest-warming bodies of water on the planet. “It’s not something you see with your naked eye,” Cottone told me. “But fish are definitely reacting differently, and I’m attributing it to climate change. We’re seeing them in deeper water—they’re trying to get the right temperature at depth.”