Ocean acidification and sea scallops: predicting impacts of climate change

Project Status: This project began in January, 2012 and is projected to be completed in December, 2015

We are supporting the development of an integrated model to forecast impacts of ocean acidification on the Atlantic sea scallop fishery. The model will (1) predict ocean acidification trends, (2) determine effects on sea scallop populations and landings and (3) project impacts to the fishery and regional economy.

Why Care

The economically important sea scallop fishery faces challenges from changing climate, increasing ocean acidification, continuing harvests, and fluctuating markets. Currently, the combined impact of these threats is difficult to incorporate adequately into policy decisions. Even though most coastal resources face similar issues, few tools are available for managers to use to assess potential outcomes prior to making decisions. This project supports development of an integrated assessment model for sea scallops which incorporates ocean acidification trends and which will enable comparison of potential outcomes based on different choices.

What We Are Doing

The model will connect biogeochemical, population, and economic information to create an integrated assessment model. The biogeochemical component will provide environmental data including ocean acidification trends that will feed into the population component in order to predict sea scallop harvest quantities. Sea scallop harvest quantities will drive the regional economic component in which scallop fishing and coastal zone policy decisions will affect the population and biogeochemical information. The integrated assessment model will be modular so that each component can be refined or replaced as new data and components become available. As a web-based interactive tool, the model will enhance decisions by providing managers with visual displays of outcomes based on different choices affecting scallop harvests, environmental conditions, and socioeconomic conditions.

This project is under the NCCOS Regional Ecosystem Prediction Program (REPP).

Benefits of Our Work

The integrated assessment model will be an interactive web-based tool that will improve decisions by allowing managers to test different scenarios affecting scallop harvests: environmental conditions, economic trends and management approaches. NOAA will use the established stock assessment process to present the tool to regional managers. The model can also be modified for a range of different species in the future.

Related Region of Study: Atlantic Seaboard

Primary Investigators: Sarah Cooley, Elizabeth Turner

Research Area: Climate Impacts ( Impacts of Changing Temperature and Hydrology, Impacts of Ocean Acidification)

Related NCCOS Center: CSCOR

NCCOS, January 2013. Project.

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