Ocean acidification likely to cause job cuts, huge revenue losses

June 1st, 2009 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 1 (IANS) Ocean acidification, activated by increased carbon dioxide emission, is not only on the verge of changing our marine ecosystems forever, but is also likely to cause huge revenue and job losses.
Intensive fossil-fuel burning and deforestation over the last two centuries have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by almost 40 percent. This has in turn fundamentally altered ocean chemistry by acidifying surface waters, according to a study.

Fish levels and other sea organisms such as planktons, crabs, lobsters, shrimp and corals are expected to suffer, which could leave fishing communities at the brink of an economic disaster.

The study suggests a series of measures to manage the impact that declining fishing harvests and revenue loss will have on a wide range of businesses from commercial fishing to wholesale, retail and restaurants.

As harvesting levels drop, job losses are likely to follow. The seafood industry is big business, bringing in large revenues and employing thousands.

As the team of researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) point out: “The worldwide political, ethical, social and economic ramifications of ocean acidification, plus its capacity to switch ecosystems to a different state following relatively small perturbations, make it a policy-relevant ‘tipping element’ of the earth system.”

“Preparing for ocean acidification’s effects on marine resources will certainly be complex, because it requires making decade-to-century plans for fisheries, which are normally managed over years to decades, to respond to shorter-term economic and environmental factors, they said,” according to an MIT release.

These findings were in the Monday issue of Environmental Research Letters.

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