Monday, October 01, 2012

Climate change effects on the ocean's food

We have talked a lot lately about how the effects of climate change is hurting food grown on the ground, but what about the food in the oceans? There is now growing evidence that CO2 emissions are increasing the acidity of the water. This forces the fish to move to cooler waters, and away from the fisherman that live from them.

From the Inter Press Service, writer Stephan Leahy describes this threat to the oceans.

Seafood is a primary source of protein for more than a billion of the poorest people in the world, said Matthew Huelsenbeck, report author and marine scientist at Oceana, an environmental NGO.
“For many island nations like the Maldives, seafood is the cheapest and most readily available source of protein,” Huelsenbeck told IPS.
The Maldives, Togo and Comoros top the list of nations whose food security is threatened by climate change, according to the report, “Ocean-Based Food Security Threatened in a High CO2 World”, which ranks the vulnerabilities of nations. Surprisingly, Iran is fourth on that list. This is the first-ever look at how climate change may affect food security for countries that are dependent on fish and seafood.
The report was released this week at the Third International Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World: Ocean Acidification, where nearly 600 scientists from around the world presented their research.
Rising ocean temperatures are pushing many fish away from the tropics towards the poles where waters are cooler, researchers have documented. And in a well-understood process, human emissions of CO2 have increased the acidity of oceans by 30 percent, threatening fish habitats such as coral reefs and thinning the shells of shellfish like oysters, clams and mussels.
The report examined every country’s exposure to climate change and ocean acidification, its dependence on and consumption of fish and seafood, and its level of adaptive capacity based on several socioeconomic factors, said Huelsenbeck.

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