Ocean acidification a threat to Pacific Islands people

The Pacific Islands consist of 98 percent ocean and two percent land. With Pacific people already impacted by climate change, the threats posed by ocean acidification are overwhelming, adding yet another layer to the long list they must suffer.

Amplifying our Pacific voice at every opportunity available, the UN Ocean Conference now underway in Lisbon, Portugal, has heard the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) call upon the global community, yet again, to do more.

“Small Islands Developing States are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of ocean acidification, especially in relation to coral depletion.  Coral reefs play a key role in ocean ecosystems,” stated Hon. John M. Silk, the Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Speaking on behalf of PSIDS during a special session – the Interactive Dialogue on Minimising and addressing ocean acidification, deoxygenation and ocean warming, the Minister stressed the important role of coral reefs upon our livelihoods and security.

“Weakened coral reefs also mean that SIDS are more vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels, increasing severity of tropical cyclones and increasing occurrence of king tides. Globally, over 50% of the countries that have a high dependence on coral reefs are located in the Pacific.”

Our global ocean has absorbed approximately 30 percent of COreleased into the atmosphere.  This COcombines with seawater to produce carbonic acid which acidifies seawater and depletes it of carbonate. 

This will make it difficult for some marine life such as shellfish, sea urchins and corals to build their skeletons and shells resulting in a reduction in growth for many of these species and ecosystems.

Newswires, 21 January 2023. Full article.

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