Posts Tagged 'Policy'

Emerging understanding of seagrass and kelp as an ocean acidification management tool in California

This report communicates emerging scientific understanding of the ability of seagrass and kelp to ameliorate ocean acidification (OA) in a California-specific context. It provides guidance on next steps for the State as it considers future nature-based actions to reduce the negative impacts of OA in California and beyond.

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Socioeconomic risk from ocean acidification and climate change impacts on Atlantic Canadian fisheries

Ocean acidification (OA) is an emerging consequence of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. The full extent of the biological impacts are currently not well understood. However, it is expected that invertebrate species that rely on the mineral calcium carbonate will be among the first and most severely affected. Despite the limited understanding of impacts there is a need to identify potential pathways for human societies to be affected by OA. Research on these social implications is a small but developing field of literature. This thesis contributes to this field by using a risk assessment framework, informed by a biophysical model of future species distributions, to investigate Atlantic Canadian risk from changes in shellfish fisheries. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are expected to see declines in resource accessibility. While Newfoundland and Labrador and PEI are more socially vulnerable to losses in fisheries, they are expected to experience relatively minor changes in access.

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Ocean acidification and Pacific oyster larval failures in the Pacific Northwest United States

The Pacific Northwest coast of the United States (Figure 2.1) is home to a lucrative shellfish aquaculture industry that grows mainly (>80 percent) (Barton, et al. 2012) Pacific oysters (Crassostrea gigas). Washington States is the center of this industry. Its hatcheries produce oyster larvae, or spat, that are shipped all over the West Coast to be grown to market size in coastal water by aquaculturists. Washington’s hatcheries – along with its 125 farms, located throughout 12 coastal counties (Northern Economics, Inc.. 2013) – produce more shellfish than any other U.S. state, contributing around $270 million to the state economy and supporting about 3,200 jobs (Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification 2012). The next greatest producer of shellfish in the United States is Connecticut, which has just 23 farms (United States Department of Agriculture 2014). Washington’s entire seafood industry generates more than 42,000 jobs in the state and contributes $1.7 billion to the gross state product via profits and jobs at restaurants, distributors and retailers (Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification 2012). By comparison, the entire state hosts approximately 3 million jobs (Employment Security Department, Washington State) contributing to an approximately $446 billion gross state profit (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). In other words, 1.4 percent of the state’s jobs are located in the shellfish industry, which creates 0.4 percent of the gross state profit. Shellfish generate more than two-thirds of the harvest value of the state’s wild commercial fisheries. Recreational shellfish harvesting in the Pacific Northwest also creates jobs and income for coastal counties. Recreational shellfish harvesting licenses generate $3 million annually in state revenue, and recreational oyster and clam harvesters contribute more than $27 million annually to coastal economies (Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification 2012). Besides the economic impacts of shellfish harvesting, harvesting and eating seafood is an integral part of the culture and everyday life of many Washingtonians.

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Prioritizing coastal ecosystem stressors in the Northeast United States under increasing climate change


• Survey and workshop ranked impacts of stressors on marine and coastal ecosystems.
• Includes ranking of current impacts and future impacts under climate change.
• Describes methodology that could be applied to other geographies or scales.
• Methods allow decision-makers to address environmental impacts under climate change.


Coastal and marine ecosystems around the world are under threat from a growing number of anthropogenic impacts, including climate change. Resource managers, researchers, policy makers, and coastal community planners are tasked with identifying, developing, and monitoring strategies to reduce or reverse the ecological, economic and social impact of environmental stressors. These individuals must make decisions about how to prioritize and allocate finite resources to address these issues, all under conditions of significant uncertainty about which of these stressors to address. This paper presents the results of a survey and workshop designed to rank the impact of a series of stressors on four components of the marine and coastal ecosystems of the Northeast United States. The methodology described here – expert elicitation supplemented by workshop deliberations – proved to be relatively cost-effective, time-efficient, and informative for identifying priority stressors for the ecosystem components under consideration, both now and in the future.

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Ocean commitments under the Paris Agreement

Under the Paris Agreement nations made pledges known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which indicate how national governments are evaluating climate risks and policy opportunities. We find that NDCs reveal important systematic patterns reflecting national interests and capabilities. Because the ocean plays critical roles in climate mitigation and adaptation, we created a quantitative marine focus factor (MFF) to evaluate how governments address marine issues. In contrast to the past, when oceans received minimal attention in climate negotiations, 70% of 161 NDCs we analysed include marine issues. The percentage of the population living in low-lying areas—vulnerable to rising seas—positively influences the MFF, but negotiating group (Annex 1 or small island developing states) is equally important, suggesting political motivations are crucial to NDC development. The analysis reveals gaps between scientific and government attention, including on ocean deoxygenation, which is barely mentioned. Governments display a keen interest in expanding marine research on climate priorities.

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Climate change–contaminant interactions in marine food webs: toward a conceptual framework

Climate change is reshaping the way in which contaminants move through the global environment, in large part by changing the chemistry of the oceans and affecting the physiology, health, and feeding ecology of marine biota. Climate change-associated impacts on structure and function of marine food webs, with consequent changes in contaminant transport, fate, and effects, are likely to have significant repercussions to those human populations that rely on fisheries resources for food, recreation, or culture. Published studies on climate change–contaminant interactions with a focus on food web bioaccumulation were systematically reviewed to explore how climate change and ocean acidification may impact contaminant levels in marine food webs. We propose here a conceptual framework to illustrate the impacts of climate change on contaminant accumulation in marine food webs, as well as the downstream consequences for ecosystem goods and services. The potential impacts on social and economic security for coastal communities that depend on fisheries for food are discussed. Climate change–contaminant interactions may alter the bioaccumulation of two priority contaminant classes: the fat-soluble persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as the protein-binding methylmercury (MeHg). These interactions include phenomena deemed to be either climate change dominant (i.e., climate change leads to an increase in contaminant exposure) or contaminant dominant (i.e., contamination leads to an increase in climate change susceptibility). We illustrate the pathways of climate change–contaminant interactions using case studies in the Northeastern Pacific Ocean. The important role of ecological and food web modeling to inform decision-making in managing ecological and human health risks of chemical pollutants contamination under climate change is also highlighted. Finally, we identify the need to develop integrated policies that manage the ecological and socioeconomic risk of greenhouse gases and marine pollutants.

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Future marine ecosystem drivers, biodiversity, and fisheries maximum catch potential in Pacific Island countries and territories under climate change


  • Under the RCP 8.5 scenario, tropical Pacific temperature will rise by ≥ 3 °C by 2100.
  • This is accompanied by declines in dissolved oxygen, pH, and net primary production.
  • This will lead to local extinctions of up to 80% of marine species in some regions.
  • 9 of 17 Pacific Island entities experience ≥ 50% declines in maximum catch potential.
  • Impacts can be greatly reduced by mitigation measures under the RCP 2.6 scenario.


The increase in anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last century has modified oceanic conditions, affecting marine ecosystems and the goods and services that they provide to society. Pacific Island countries and territories are highly vulnerable to these changes because of their strong dependence on ocean resources, high level of exposure to climate effects, and low adaptive capacity. Projections of mid-to-late 21st century changes in sea surface temperature (SST), dissolved oxygen, pH, and net primary productivity (NPP) were synthesized across the tropical Western Pacific under strong climate mitigation and business-as-usual scenarios. These projections were used to model impacts on marine biodiversity and potential fisheries catches. Results were consistent across three climate models, indicating that SST will rise by ≥ 3 °C, surface dissolved oxygen will decline by ≥ 0.01 ml L−1, pH will drop by ≥ 0.3, and NPP will decrease by 0.5 g m−2 d−1 across much of the region by 2100 under the business-as-usual scenario. These changes were associated with rates of local species extinction of > 50% in many regions as fishes and invertebrates decreased in abundance or migrated to regions with conditions more suitable to their bio-climate envelope. Maximum potential catch (MCP) was projected to decrease by > 50% across many areas, with the largest impacts in the western Pacific warm pool. Climate change scenarios that included strong mitigation resulted in substantial reductions of MCP losses, with the area where MCP losses exceeded 50% reduced from 74.4% of the region under business-as-usual to 36.0% of the region under the strong mitigation scenario.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book