» Ocean acidification impacts on fisheries and aquaculture economics and industries
12.11.2012 - Natural Sciences Sector

Ocean acidification impacts on fisheries and aquaculture economics and industries

© UNESCO/Yvette Lee Minimal diver presence as well as a pristine environment guarantee the presence of eye catching sea fans, soft corals and seq whips, here at Tubbataha, Philippines.

Net CO2 absorption by the world’s oceans is known to benefit human-kind by reducing the concentration of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. But as CO2 dissolves in seawater carbonic acid is formed, causing the ocean to acidify at rates not seen for the last 20 million years. Awareness of this ‘other CO2 problem’ has only emerged within the last decade and more research is needed to develop meaningful projections of its impacts on marine ecosystems and fisheries.

Because of the importance of economic valuation in motivating policy change with regard to climate change issues, there is a clear need to enhance the dialogue between science and economics in this rapidly emerging area of social concern. However such a thorough economic valuation of the costs of climate change on the marine environment, specifically with regard to ocean acidification, had not been undertaken.

Following the recommendations of the Monaco declaration (2008, the Monaco Scientific Centre and the International Atomic Energy Agency have joined forces to provide a venue where policy makers, experts and relevant international and regional organisations (such as the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO) can build better linkages between socio-economists and life scientists to enable future understanding of the impacts of ocean acidification on society. Together, they organized the Second International Workshop “Bridging the Gap between Ocean Acidification Impacts and Economic Valuation” on 11-13 November 2012, bringing together leading scientific investigators of ocean acidification and natural resource economics. The focus of the workshop will be on fisheries and aquaculture, and regional aspects of species vulnerability and socio-economic adaptation.

Wendy Watson-Wright, Assistant Director General and Executive Secretary, UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, will chair the opening session and participate in the regional working group for the North and Central Pacific.

Relevant factors for comprehensive socio-economic risk assessments for ocean acidification impacts will be identified, including interaction effects with other physical, chemical and human sources of ecological stress. The implications for coastal areas and waters with specific characteristics will be discussed. The conclusions for different regions will be synthesized into a set of recommendations for policymakers, managers and stakeholders (fishers and coastal communities). Suggestions for future research in biological, ecological, socio-economic evaluation of vulnerability and adaptation to ocean acidification will be outlined.

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