How El Nino could change the menu - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

How El Nino could change the menu

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8)  - This year the San Diego coast has seen a number of changes in its sea life due to El Nino. 

In the past month alone, the warm waters brought red crabs to Ocean Beach, and even hammer head sharks to La Jolla. 

Warm currents are affecting sea life off our shores and with lobster season starting soon, many wonder how it might affect the crustaceans. 

San Diego State University biology Professor Kevin Hovel said there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to spiny lobsters that are known in the San Diego waters. 

Most data collected on them, according to Professor Hovel, has only come in the last few decades. 

"One of the primary effects El Nino would likely have on spiny lobsters is in their larval stage," he said. 

Professor Hovel said El Nino does two main things: 1) It makes the water temperature warmer, and 2) It also shifts currents. 

"El Nino may actually benefit our lobster population by allowing higher rates of larval transport into Southern California [waters]," he said. 

That benefit could mean more lobsters. He also said the warmer water promotes the growth of female eggs, but the full effect will not be known until the lobsters are fully grown. 

"It takes them six or seven years to get to a size where they can be captured in a fishery. They're not of legal size to be caught commercially until several years later," he said. 

So make reservations at your favorite seafood restaurant for a Saturday in 2022. 

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