A recently published study led by researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) may be a dire warning for fisheries in Alaska. According to NOAA, ocean acidification may threaten fishing off the coast of southeast and southwest Alaska in the near future, affecting coastal communities and employment opportunities.

“Ocean acidification is not just an ecological problem—it’s an economic problem,” said Steve Colt, an economist at the University of Alaska Anchorage and co-author of the study. “The people of coastal Alaska, who have always looked to the sea for sustenance and prosperity, will be most affected. But all Alaskans need to understand how and where ocean acidification threatens our marine resources so that we can work together to address the challenges and maintain healthy and productive coastal communities.”

Ocean acidification is best explained as the result of the ocean absorbing more carbon dioxide, turning the waters acidic. This change alters the chemical makeup of ocean water and can be detrimental to marine life such as red king crab, corals, and even some fish species. The effects of ocean acidification are wide-ranging, and scientists warn that communities should start addressing ways to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale.

“We went beyond the traditional approach of looking at dollars lost or species impacted; we know these fisheries are lifelines for native communities and what we’ve learned will help them adapt to a changing ocean environment,” said Jeremy Mathis, another co-author and NOAA oceanographer.

Alaska’s fishing industry provides about 100,000 jobs in the state and more than $5 billion in yearly revenue. A significant portion of the state’s population, around 17 percent, depend on subsistence fishing as well. Scientists are still studying how big of an effect that ocean acidification will have on the state’s coastal fisheries, but since it affects vital links in the food chain like plankton, the result can be hard to predict.

Image from NancyHeise on the Wikimedia Commons

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3 thoughts on “NOAA: Ocean Acidification Threatens Alaska Fisheries

  1. I also read that wiping a cows ass reduces carbon emissions….These peope willing to do and say anything get us on board with their scam…The 2012 downturn in CO2 Emissions means that emissions are at their lowest level since 1994. Energ…y-related carbon dioxide emissions have declined in 5 out of the last 7 years.

  2. I missed this article…..Let’s re-publish it, and bring back the discussion. These people aren’t even talking in the realm of anything real!!! The ocean is, by millions of tons, the biggest producer of “green house gases” and has been for all of time. Or at least since there has been oceans. Evaporation is #1 cause, not to mention the countless cracks, chasms, holes, volcanos, that eject everything from CO2, to methane, to crude oil, etc. and O2. That’s what makes that wonderful “ocean air” that we run to. The human “footprint” is no more than a flake of dead skin in the equation. If they are so concerned about CO2, then they should just quit breathing.

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