Ocean acidification threatening fisheries in Alaska

Thursday, August 21, 2014

From the Environmental and Energy Study Institute's recent issue of their newsletter Climate Change News:

On July 29, 2014, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a study in Progress for Oceanography projecting that fisheries in Alaska are already being impacted by ocean acidification from sea water absorption of carbon dioxide, and will experience more impacts in the future. Alaskan fisheries support 90,000 full-time-equivalent Alaskan jobs, are worth an estimated wholesale $4.6 billion on the world market, and are a substantive part of the diet of 20 percent of Alaska’s population (generally native peoples in rural areas). According to the study, the southern, rural areas of Alaska are facing the most severe consequences of ocean acidification. This trend is due in part to low-income, limited employment opportunities, high food prices and great reliance on fish for subsistence in those communities, as well as more rapidly projected acidification and a high quantity of vulnerable species in those areas. Steve Colt, an economist at the University of Alaska Anchorage and study co-author, said, “Ocean acidification is not just an ecological problem – it’s an economic problem. The people of coastal Alaska, who have always looked to the sea for sustenance and prosperity, will be most affected.”