By Molly Daly

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBS) – The fish population in New Jersey waters is growing more diverse, and a Rutgers University scientist says climate change is driving it.

Dr. Ken Able is the director of Rutgers University’s marine field station in Tuckerton, where for 27 years, they’ve been studying the baby fish that come into the Little Egg Inlet.

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“And we have a distinct trend,” he says. “We have warming water temperatures, and we have fewer northern species and we have more southern species. And there’s good data to support that.”

Some species, like butterfly fish, are merely visitors. Others, like Atlantic Croaker, have moved in.

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Croaker (Credit: Rutgers University)

Croaker (Credit: Rutgers University)

“Now it is the basis for fisheries out of Barnegat Light,” Able says, “and recreational fishermen for go for it all the time.”

Able says although some still dismiss the concept of human driven climate change, the evidence is unmistakable:

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“In no uncertain terms, the climate of the earth is changing, the temperature of the water is changing, and animals are responding to it by changing where they live.”