Ocean acidification and marine aquaculture in North America: potential impacts and mitigation strategies

Shifting environmental conditions resulting from anthropogenic climate change have recently garnered much attention in the aquaculture industry; however, ocean acidification has received relatively little attention. Here, we provide an overview of ocean acidification in the context of North American aquaculture with respect to potential impacts and mitigation strategies. North American shellfish farms should make ocean acidification an immediate priority, as shellfish and other calcifying organisms are of highest concern in an increasingly acidifying ocean and negative effects have already been felt on the Pacific coast. While implications for various finfish have been documented, our current understanding of how acidification will impact North American finfish aquaculture is limited and requires more research. Although likely to benefit from increases in seawater CO2, some seaweeds may also be at risk under more acidic conditions, particularly calcifying species, as well as non-calcifying ones residing in areas where CO2 is not the primary driver of acidification. Strategies to mitigate and adapt to the effects of acidification exist on the regional scale and can aid in identifying areas of concern, detecting changes in seawater carbonate chemistry early enough to avoid catastrophic outcomes, and adapting to long-term shifts in oceanic pH. Ultimately, ocean acidification has already imposed negative impacts on the aquaculture industry, but can be addressed with sufficient monitoring and the establishment of regional mitigation plans.

Clements J. C. & Chopin T., in press. Ocean acidification and marine aquaculture in North America: potential impacts and mitigation strategies. Reviews in Aquaculture. Article (subscription required).


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