Published 5 July 2010
There is increasing concern with regard to future impacts of ocean acidification on marine biological resources, fisheries and aquaculture and the potential economic and social consequences. Here we give a summary report on the status of following sets of data required to evaluate the likely scales of future economic losses to Mediterranean fisheries and aquaculture; a) direct and indirect effects of reduced pH on Mediterranean species of socio-economic significance, b) effects of different global atmospheric carbon emission rates on future acidity of Mediterranean seawater, and c) the economic values of shellfish from both wild fisheries and aquaculture industries. The areas of uncertainty that warrant further investigation are also identified.
Continue reading ‘Future ocean acidification impacts on Mediterranean seafoods: first investigation of the economic costs’
Published 13 January 2010
Ocean acidification lowers the oceanic saturation states of carbonate minerals and decreases the calcification rates of some marine organisms that provide a range of ecosystem services such as wild fishery and aquaculture harvests, coastal protection, tourism, cultural identity, and ecosystem support. Damage to marine ecosystem services by ocean acidification is likely to disproportionately affect developing nations and coastal regions, which often rely more heavily on a variety of marine-related economic and cultural activities. Losses of calcifying organisms or changes in marine food webs could significantly alter global marine harvests, which provided 110 million metric tons of food for humans and were valued at US$160 billion in 2006. Some of the countries most dependent on seafood for dietary protein include developing island nations with few agricultural alternatives. Aquaculture, especially of mollusks, may meet some of the future protein demand of economically developing, growing populations, but ocean acidification may complicate aquaculture of some species. By 2050, both population increases and changes in carbonate mineral saturation state will be greatest in low-latitude regions, multiplying the stresses on tropical marine ecosystems and societies. Identifying costeffective adaptive strategies to mitigate the costs associated with ocean acidification requires development of transferable management strategies that can be tailored to meet the specific needs of regional human and marine communities.
Continue reading ‘Ocean acidification’s potential to alter global marine ecosystem services’
Published 3 June 2009
Tags: fisheries, Socio-economic
Anthropogenic global warming has significantly influenced physical and biological processes at global and regional scales. The observed and anticipated changes in global climate present significant opportunities and challenges for societies and economies. We compare the vulnerability of 132 national economies to potential climate change impacts on their capture fisheries using an indicator-based approach. Countries in Central and Western Africa (e.g. Malawi, Guinea, Senegal, and Uganda), Peru and Colombia in north-western South America, and four tropical Asian countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Pakistan, and Yemen) were identified as most vulnerable. This vulnerability was due to the combined effect of predicted warming, the relative importance of fisheries to national economies and diets, and limited societal capacity to adapt to potential impacts and opportunities. Many vulnerable countries were also among the world’s least developed countries whose inhabitants are among the world’s poorest and twice as reliant on fish, which provides 27% of dietary protein compared to 13% in less vulnerable countries. These countries also produce 20% of the world’s fish exports and are in greatest need of adaptation planning to maintain or enhance the contribution that fisheries can make to poverty reduction. Although the precise impacts and direction of climate-driven change for particular fish stocks and fisheries are uncertain, our analysis suggests they are likely to lead to either increased economic hardship or missed opportunities for development in countries that depend upon fisheries but lack the capacity to adapt.
Continue reading ‘Vulnerability of national economies to the impacts of climate change on fisheries’
Published 2 June 2009
Ocean acidification, a consequence of rising anthropogenic CO2 emissions, is poised to change marine ecosystems profoundly by increasing dissolved CO2 and decreasing ocean pH, carbonate ion concentration, and calcium carbonate mineral saturation state worldwide. These conditions hinder growth of calcium carbonate shells and skeletons by many marine plants and animals. The first direct impact on humans may be through declining harvests and fishery revenues from shellfish, their predators, and coral reef habitats. In a case study of US commercial fishery revenues, we begin to constrain the economic effects of ocean acidification over the next 50 years using atmospheric CO2 trajectories and laboratory studies of its effects, focusing especially on mollusks. In 2007, the $3.8 billion US annual domestic ex-vessel commercial harvest ultimately contributed $34 billion to the US gross national product. Mollusks contributed 19%, or $748 million, of the ex-vessel revenues that year. Substantial revenue declines, job losses, and indirect economic costs may occur if ocean acidification broadly damages marine habitats, alters marine resource availability, and disrupts other ecosystem services. We review the implications for marine resource management and propose possible adaptation strategies designed to support fisheries and marine-resource-dependent communities, many of which already possess little economic resilience.
Continue reading ‘Anticipating ocean acidification’s economic consequences for commercial fisheries’
Published 14 April 2009
The accelerated rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration in recent years has revived the idea of stabilizing the global climate through geoengineering schemes. Majority of the proposed geoengineering schemes will attempt to reduce the amount of solar radiation absorbed by our planet. Climate modelling studies of these so called ‘sunshade geoengineering schemes’ show that global warming from increasing concentrations of CO2 can be mitigated by intentionally manipulating the amount of sunlight absorbed by the climate system. These studies also suggest that the residual changes could be large on regional scales, so that climate change may not be mitigated on a local basis. More recent modelling studies have shown that these schemes could lead to a slow-down in the global hydrological cycle. Other problems such as changes in the terrestrial carbon cycle and ocean acidification remain unsolved by sunshade geoengineering schemes. In this article, I review the proposed geoengineering schemes, results from climate models and discuss why geoengineering is not the best option to deal with climate change.
Continue reading ‘Problems with geoengineering schemes to combat climate change’
Published 3 April 2009
Because ocean acidification has only recently been recognised as a problem caused by climate change, impact studies are still rare and estimates of the economic impact are absent. This paper estimates the economic impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs which are generally considered to be economically as well as ecologically important ecosystems. First, we conduct an impact assessment in which atmospheric concentration of CO2 is linked to ocean acidity causing coral reef area loss. Next, a meta-analysis is applied to determine the economic value of coral reefs around the world. Finally, these two analyses are combined to estimate the economic impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs for the four IPCC marker scenarios. We find that the annual economic impact rapidly escalates over time, because the scenarios have rapid economic growth in the relevant countries and coral reefs are a luxury good. Nonetheless, the annual value in 2100 in still only a fraction of total income, one order of magnitude smaller than the previously estimated impact of climate change. Although the estimated impact is uncertain, the estimated confidence interval spans one order of magnitude only. Future research should seek to extend the estimates presented here to other impacts of ocean acidification and investigate the implications of our findings for climate policy.
Continue reading ‘The economic impact of ocean acidification on coral reefs’