Ocean acidification is a rapidly emerging ocean issue and an increasingly important factor affecting the future of seafood. While scientists are beginning to better understand and document the multiple effects of ocean acidification, its impact on the seafood industry – from fisher to consumer - is likely to be significant.
Ocean acidification is the term that describes the process of the ocean becoming more acidic as it absorbs increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. There is more CO2 entering the atmosphere than ever before because of exponentially increased emissions from fossil fuel combustion. This has been further exacerbated by widespread deforestation and agricultural activities. It is estimated that the ocean's absorption of carbon dioxide has caused a 30 percent increase in its acidity during the past 200 years, a much faster rate of increase than at any other time during the past 65 million years.
The impacts of ocean acidification include disruptions in the reproduction, and reduction in growth, of shellfish and finfish, degradation of habitats (such as coral reefs) and of critical ecosystem food sources such as pteropods (a type of plankton).
Seafood Choices is working with its partners to help fill knowledge gaps, cut through the complexity of these issues, and in turn, open dialogue between seafood industry and scientists on the impacts of ocean acidification. We intend to identify opportunities to support creative, collaborative solutions to build resilience in the ocean that the seafood industry and communities depend upon.
Cutting Through the Complexity: An Educational Workshop on Ocean Acidification in the Gulf & South Atlantic
A workshop for the seafood Industry
26 April 2010
Seafood Choices has organized introductory regional workshops on ocean acidification. The first workshop was held in Portland, Maine, in June 2009. The second workshop was held in St. Petersburg, Florida. The workshops are designed to present the science clearly to members of the seafood industry to help them understand potential impacts to fisheries; to obtain feedback from stakeholders on strategies for how best to inform and engage those from seafood industry, including fishermen, in this issue; and to develop informal communications networks for participants and regional stakeholders to tap into for future dialogue and action. Meeting notes and presentations are available for down load below (.pdf).
Potential Impacts of Ocean Acidification Fisheries, Dr. Dennis Heinemann, Ocean Conservancy coming soon!
Cutting Through Complexity: Ocean Acidification and the Gulf of Maine
An educational workshop for the seafood industry 26 June 2009
This introductory workshop highlighted the current science on ocean acidification and its effects in the Gulf of Maine, and provided an opportunity for participants to discuss future opportunities for educating and engaging others in their industry and community on this issue. Meeting notes and all presentations are available for download below (.pdf).
Interactive Ocean Acidification Map This map shows the results of a major study by the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) of the impact of ocean acidification. It shows the rate of ocean acidifciation in different regions and the oberved effects in different regions. To view the map click here.
The Other CO2 Problem
Ocean Acidification... In a Nutshell
A Sea Change: 1st Trailer
Screenings and events for A Sea Change
06.01.10 FICMA, Barcelona, Spain
06.18.10 Eco Film Festival Romania, Cluj-Napocca Romania
06.25.10 Hubbard Hall, Cambridge, New York, USA
For more information about screenings, please visit the A Sea Changewebsite.
The MCCIP ‘ecosystem linkages’ report card highlights just how much climate change is affecting the UK marine environment and shows how impacts as wide ranging as melting sea ice and shifting species relate to each other, with potentially important consequences for mankind.
To download the report: www.mccip.org.uk/elr
Key findings from the report include: (link to downloadable .pdf) CO2 and Ocean Acidification – In the last 200 years, ocean acidity has increased by 30%, a rate much faster than in the last 65 million years. This has serious implications for marine ecosystems and climate regulation. Arctic Sea-Ice – In the last decade there has been a 35% decrease in summer sea ice and a 15% reduction in winter sea-ice, leading to changes in habitats and ecosystems. Changing Seas, Seabirds and Food Sources – Climate change has already caused changes in plankton, fish distribution and species composition in the seas around the UK. Declines in some seabird populations such as black legged kittiwakes, terns and skuas may continue as a result. Non-Native Species – The likelihood that non-native species will establish and flourish in UK marine environments could be greater due to climate change, which will have an impact on fisheries and aquaculture e.g. sporadic poisoning and clogging of nets. Coastal Economies and People – Many coastal communities will face both challenges (e.g. increased flood and erosion risks, declining traditional fisheries) and opportunities (e.g. new tourism patterns, new fisheries) through climate change.