Specialists express serious concerns about the possible impacts of Ocean Acidification on OECS Economies

Specialists are expressing serious concerns about the possible impacts of ocean acidification on OECS economies.This is among the comments at an unprecedented meeting on OECS Ocean Acidification which opened in Saint Lucia on Tuesday.

The early morning session of the meeting demonstrated the effects of acidification on the region’s precious coral reefs during an exaggerated experiment of the destruction of a sea shell when it was placed in a beaker with acid. As the shell quickly dissolved the chemical reaction wowed the capacity packed conference room into an extended and repeated call for international support regarding the impacts of climate change.  Rachal Allen, a research specialist at the University of the West Indies stated that ocean acidification can harm the essential industries of Agriculture and Tourism as well as associated livelihoods in the OECS.

Online sources describe Ocean Acidification as the reduction of the PH level of the ocean and the concentration of carbonate ion,when carbon dioxide (CO2) is absorbed by seawater thereby forming carbonic acid.The online source adds that “Perhaps surprisingly, ocean acidification is considered one of the most serious consequences of increased CO2 in the atmosphere.”

The OECS Commission says the Member States have no choice but to make climate change responses an utmost priority and in order to deliver optimal benefits to Member States, adaptive responses must quickly be modified to address the unseen, yet potentially destructive slow onset events, specifically ocean acidification which will directly affect coral reefs and other marine life.

Asha Singh who heads the  OECS Ocean Governance Unit explained that ocean acidification has the potential to derail OECS’s efforts to harness the potential of the blue economy and can limit or destroy the health attributes associated with our coral reefs. Singh continued that the ocean must be looked at as the new frontier for development.  The workshop on OECS Ocean Acidification ends on Wednesday May 27th 2015.

OECS Media, 26 May 2015. Article.

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