Ocean acidification, a direct result of increased CO2 emission, is set to change the Earth's marine ecosystems forever and may have a direct impact on our economy, resulting in substantial revenue declines and job losses.
Intensive fossil-fuel burning and deforestation over the last two centuries have increased atmospheric CO2 levels by almost 40%, which has in turn fundamentally altered ocean chemistry by acidifying surface waters. Fish levels and other sea organisms such as planktons, crabs, lobsters, shrimp and corals are expected to suffer, which could leave fishing communities at the brink of economic disaster.
Published today, Monday, 1 June, in IOP Publishing's Environmental Research Letters, the paper 'Anticipating ocean acidification's economic consequences on commercial fisheries' suggests a series of measures to manage the impact that declining fishing harvests and revenue loss will have on a wide range of businesses from commercial fishing to wholesale, retail and restaurants.
Ocean acidification and declining carbonate ion concentration in sea water could directly damage corals and mollusks which all depend on sufficient carbonate levels to form shells successfully. Subsequent losses of prey such as plankton and shellfish would also alter food webs and intensify competition among predators for nourishment.
As harvesting levels drop, job losses are likely to follow. The seafood industry is big business, bringing in large revenues and employing thousands. Seafood sales at New York restaurants supported around 70,000 full-time jobs in 1999 alone, while US domestic fisheries provided a primary sale value of $5.1 billion in 2007. In 2007, there were almost 13,000 fishermen in the UK that harvested £645 million of marine products, 43% of which was shellfish.
As the team of researchers from Massachusetts points out, "The worldwide political, ethical, social and economic ramifications of ocean acidification, plus its capacity to switch ecosystems to a different state following relatively small perturbations, make it a policy-relevant "tipping element" of the earth system."
"Preparing for ocean acidification's effects on marine resources will certainly be complex, because it requires making decade-to-century plans for fisheries, which are normally managed over years to decades, to respond to shorter-term economic and environmental factors."
In order to combat the likely future decline in ocean species, regional solutions such as flexible fishery management plans, studies of seawater chemistry and support for fishing communities must be implemented now to absorb inevitable changes in the future.
Lena Weber | EurekAlert!
Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy