“Everybody looks at the negative effects of global warming," lamented Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) at a transportation conference Thursday morning. "But with the ice melting, the Northern Passage has opened up."
The governor continued: “So maybe, instead of being at the end of the pipeline, we’re now at the beginning of a new pipeline."
He has a point. As the Bangor Daily News points out, the once-frozen shortcut from the east coast of the U.S. to East Asia is becoming more accessible as the Arctic continues to warm, and can cut shipping times between Europe and Asia by up to 40 percent. The first German vessel made the voyage in 2009; 18 more did in 2011. And earlier this year, Icelandic shipping company Eimskip made Portland its North American headquarters.
“With Eimskip coming to Maine, with all the goods things happening — it used to be global warming, I think they call it climate change now — but there are a lot of opportunities developing,” LePage said.
Opportunities for Maine's shrimping industry, on the other hand, are headed in the opposite direction. Also today, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission banned all shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine for 2014, blaming overfishing and warming oceans for the critical decline in shrimp stocks there.