Experts warn: Continued warmth may harm fishing industry, strengthen storms
Water temperatures have hovered five to 10 degrees above normal since last winter, primarily because of above-average air temperatures
enveloping New Jersey for more than a year and a half.
Along the New Jersey coastline, water temperatures typically run in the low 70s during early September, according to the National Oceanographic Data Center. But since July, temperatures have peaked in the low 80s in some places, while hovering in the upper 70s elsewhere.
"It’s definitely out of the ordinary," said Jon Miller, a maritime research associate at Stevens Institute of Technology. "The weather’s been warm enough that (the ocean) never cooled down the way that it usually does."
The state Department of Environmental Protection said imminent effects of the unusual warmth are minimal. But should it persist, there could be stronger coastal storms and a dramatic impact on the fishing industry, experts say.
Fishermen along the New Jersey coast said temperatures may have driven fluke farther offshore, where temperatures are cooler, and other species of fish like wahoo and big-eye tuna, have been appearing off New Jersey, which is north of their usual range.
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