Responding to recent reporting on rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine, Maine’s U.S. Senators, EcoRight stalwart Susan Collins and Independent Angus King, sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asking the agency to study the causes and effects of this rise in temperature. “We need greater resources, enhanced monitoring of subsurface conditions, and a better understanding of the diversity of factors that are simultaneously impacting the Gulf of Maine, from changes in circulation and water temperature to ocean acidification,” the senators wrote. “Understanding the changes occurring in the Gulf of Maine with respect to warming ocean waters will allow us to better understand the impact to fisheries and benefit other waters similarly affected by climate change.”

Canadian scientists recorded record-breaking temperatures in the deep water flowing into the principal oceanographic entrance to the Gulf of Maine—11 degrees above normal for this time of year. Such warming threatens not only the ecosystem but Maine’s fisheries industry. In recent years, scientists have identified the Gulf of Maine as the second fastest warming part of the world’s oceans. An “ocean heat wave” in 2012 disrupted the soft-shell lobster season and caused the green crab population to explode, which in turn devoured most of the clams and impacting the breeding season of the state’s iconic puffins.

“Along with ocean acidification and the potential for oil drilling off our coastline, the warming of the Gulf of Maine is a serious threat to our way of life in Maine,” added Rep. Bruce Poliquin, who represents the second congressional district in Maine.