University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

News Journal: Iconic fish species move north as ocean warms

Warming ocean temperatures off the North Atlantic are causing fish to move up the coast to cooler waters — raising concerns among scientists and regulators about the ocean's ecosystem, and potentially changing the experience Delaware anglers have enjoyed for generations.

In 2013, a Virginia Beach striped bass tournament drew hundreds of boats, but only one striper was caught.

Wachapreague, Virginia, a tiny town south of Chincoteague that called itself the "flounder capital of the world," lost its identity and economic engine when summer flounder relocated to waters off the coasts of New Jersey and New York.

And the iconic blue crab, a staple of restaurants and dinner tables throughout the Delmarva Peninsula, are expanding their range, scuttling up the coast to Maine.

Striped bass, which gave birth to a charter fishing industry in Delaware, are swimming into deeper water during their fall migration through the mid-Atlantic — well beyond the 3-mile limit off the coast where it is legal to catch and keep them.