In this Sept. 13, 2017, file photo, a lobster fishing boat heads out to sea at sunrise off shore from Portland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

A body of water off New England and Canada had its warmest fall surface temperatures on record last year, a Maine science center reported.

The Gulf of Maine has long been a focus of climate scientists because it is warming faster than most of the world’s oceans. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute said last week that average sea surface temperatures in the gulf reached 59.9 degrees Fahrenheit.

That figure is about 7 percent higher than the long-term average, the Portland Press Herald reported. The fall temperature was greater than a 2012 ocean heatwave that disrupted fisheries and ecosystems in the Gulf of Maine.

The Gulf of Maine stretches from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. It’s a critically important fishing ground for the U.S. lobster industry. Scientists, fishermen and government officials have sounded alarms about the future of the lobster industry as waters continue to warm.