Arctic ocean acidification: the socio-economic impacts

Arctic ocean acidification: the socio-economic impacts

A new report has been released on the socio-economic impacts of Arctic ocean acidification, outlining the consequences locally and globally.

The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)’s report explains how continuing Arctic ocean acidification will lead to significant environmental and socio-economic impacts in the coming decades.

AMAP was established in 1991 as part of the Arctic Environmental Protection Strategy, which is made up of eight countries. AMAP monitors the Arctic region and analyses the region in terms of pollution and climate change.

Case studies of Arctic ocean acidification

Arctic ocean acidification will have positive impacts for some organisms, where as others will suffer negative effects. The AMAP’s report includes findings from five case studies to assess the varying impacts of the acidification of the Arctic in different contexts. The case studies are regionally focused analyses of the effects on marine ecosystems.

The case studies focused on the following regional areas:

  • Norwegian kelp and sea urchins
  • Barents Sea cod
  • Greenland shrimp fishery
  • Alaska’s fishery sector
  • Arctic cod in Western Canadian Arctic

The socio-economic impacts

The AMAP report’s results revealed various socio-economic impacts of ocean acidification in the Arctic.

The study of Norwegian kelp and sea urchins assessed the impacts of Arctic ocean acidification on the unexploited stocks of sea urchins off the coast of northern Norway using model simulations. In the simulations, the socio-economic impacts were that the harvest yields declined sevenfold over the next thirty years, which was exacerbated by Arctic ocean acidification.

The Greenland shrimp fishery case study found that ocean acidification greatly increases the risk of the collapse of the fishery.

Is Arctic ocean acidification the only problem?

The report concluded that it is not only Arctic ecosystems and societies that are impacted by ocean acidification, but also shelf regions of the North Atlantic which are biologically productive and support significant commercial fishing.

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