$100m industry’s shrinking danger within 10-15 years

THE BAHAMIAN FISHING industry could face severe contraction in 10 to 15 years due to ocean acidification and ocean temperature increases, brought on by the global warming that threatens to destroy this country’s coral reefs, Tribune Business understands.

Climate change expert, Dr Peter Kouwenhoven, said rising ocean temperatures brought on by climate change and an increase in acidity are destroying coral reefs, and the Bahamas is in danger of losing an enormous chunk of its $100 million per annum fishing industry if those fish habitats collapse.

According to Dr Kouwenhoven, the rise in acidity occurs as the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is released from burning fossil fuels. Those emissions change the acidity of the ocean waters and destroy coral reefs.

Dr Kouwenhoven warned that this effect is irreversible, and is well into the first critical stages of acidification.

And rising ocean temperatures are creating an effect on coral known as bleaching, which also destroys coral reefs.

Bahamian fishermen have recently been hit with an equally vexing menace that threatens their industry – the invasive Lionfish.

Chester Robards, The Tribune, 4 May 2010. Full article.

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