getting grilled
December 9, 2019

There's nothing fishy about what's happening in Alaska.

The state's cod population in the Gulf of Alaska has dropped to an unprecedented low, leading Anchorage's federal cod fishery to announce Friday it would close for the 2020 season. And it's becoming very clear why: As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday, 2019 has so far been Alaska's warmest year on record.

NOAA measuring stations in Anchorage, Cold Bay, Homer, and Kodiak have all reported their warmest November on record, culminating in the whole state's fourth-warmest autumn of all time. That leaves 2019 as Alaska's warmest year so far, narrowly beating out 2016 as Alaska's hottest year since measurements first started in 1925.

Monday's NOAA report lends concrete proof of what fisheries in Alaska have experienced. Another NOAA assessment of Gulf cod populations taken this fall showed there were "next to no" new eggs among the cod population, largely thanks to warming ocean waters stemming from climate change. And with the Gulf of Alaska's fishery closed for the first time ever, whole communities who depend on the fishing economy are now at risk. Kathryn Krawczyk

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