PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – A new report says the makeup of the ocean waters off the Northeast has been fundamentally altered because of climate change, heavy commercial fishing pressure and a growing population along the coast.

The 2009 Ecosystem Status Report says fish populations in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean have been moving from their traditional home grounds over the past four decades because of changes in the ocean ecosystem.

The study was done by NOAA researchers at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Falmouth, Mass. It looked at waters stretching from North Carolina to Maine.

It finds that the waters are currently dominated by species such as mackerel, herring, skates and small sharks, and that lobsters and scallops are increasing in abundance.

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