Ocean acidification poses a latent danger to fishing nations

A group of 30 scientists meeting in South Korea warned fishing countries, and especially those in the Caribbean, of the increasing ocean acidification.

Because to the Caribbean nations fishing is an important source of income, experts recommend to take into account the results of the new international report on ocean acidification, prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“Ocean acidification may have very specific impacts on particular types of fishing, so it is especially important for small island developing states and the people who depend on a specific type of fishing,” pointed out S.J. Hennige, senior editor of the report, IPS reported.

And Carol Turley of Plymouth Marine Laboratory and co-author of the report, stressed that “we are in a world where the ocean acidifies very quickly, so we have to act very quickly.”

In the Caribbean, processing, marketing, boat building and mesh making sectors, among others, directly employ more than 120,000 people and thousands of others are hired in a more indirect way.

The document emphasizes that acidification is worsening almost inevitably, a situation that harms some marine organisms and ecosystems and also the goods and services they provide.

Meanwhile, David Obura, director of Research and Development of Oceanic Coast in the Indian Ocean, stated that food security is under threat in the Caribbean and other nations that depend on fishing.

“Ocean acidification alters the chemistry of seawater, which affects the growth of fish, usually negatively. So productivity will drop,” warned Obura.

Hennige explained that the problem is that more and more CO2 is released into the atmosphere, and it will get worse if nothing is done about it.
“It is not a problem caused by the Caribbean, it is worldwide, and a global solution is needed,” he said.

According to Susan Singh-Renton, deputy executive director of the Regional Fisheries Mechanism in the Caribbean, all what the report outlines can be applied to the Caribbean.

“Ocean acidification is a serious concern because it means that seawater, as a means of supporting life, is changing in a very fundamental way,” she highlighted.

And she added: “Given that the ocean ecosystem is so complex, it is not possible to foresee the consequences for sure, but it is certain that they will be important to the tropical islands, especially those whose economies are based on the health and beauty of its coral reefs.”

Furthermore, Turley stressed that only industrialized countries can measure acidification so it is necessary to act quickly and start exporting that knowledge to countries such as the Caribbean ones and to small island developing States.

Hennige considers that the forecasts indicate that by the end of this century, ocean acidification will cause an economic loss of USD 1,000 million.

Analia Murias, FIS Monaco, 13 October 2014. Article.

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