Ocean Acidification: Cause, effect, and response
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The burning of fossil fuels produces Carbon Dioxide (C02). The oceans are absorbing our excess carbon emissions, and have become 30% more acidic. This chemical change is threatening sea animals such as corals and shellfish.
These marine creatures need calcium to form protective shells. Research is showing that they are threatened by chemical changes in the ocean.
Many of these marine animals provide habitat and are food for other ocean species. Some of them also provide a food source for humans. Harvesting these animals drives a seafood based economy
for our coastal communities. Losing these key species would have a devastating ripple effect on the foodweb, our food security, and our seafood economy
In the Pacific Northwest, the shellfish industry adds an estimated $270 million a year into the region’s economy, bringing jobs to more than 3,200 people, primarily in coastal communities.
--NOAA Fisheries Service
- Watch our new Public Service Announcement (PSA):
Highlighting the current situation the shellfish industry is facing, the PSA shows the immediacy and urgency of the Ocean Acidification problem.
- Take the Pledge:
Visit the acidocean.org website to learn more about Ocean Acidification, how the National Marine Sanctuaries and other partners are addressing the issue, and individual actions you can take to make a positive impact.
- Read our Report:
Prepared for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, the report “Ocean Acidification and the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary: Cause, effect, and response” recommends the following:
Research. Prioritize the collection of baseline physical and biological oceanographic data relevant to understanding the local effects of ocean acidification. Systematically identify data gaps and research needs, and begin forming partnerships with researchers and institutions to fill gaps.
Monitor. Create an organizational framework to track changes in acidification-related physical and biological indicators over time, including calcifying species, ecosystems, and changes in pH and carbonate saturation.
Educate. Use existing education and outreach programs to help increase awareness of ocean acidification among stakeholders and the public. Raise awareness about the following: causes of ocean acidification; its effects on marine resources and ecosystems; and actions the public and stakeholders can take to reduce their contribution to ocean acidification.
Lead. Seize the opportunity to address ocean acidification through leadership among local ocean users, the public, and within the National Marine Sanctuary Program and NOAA. Leadership actions are needed in two areas: (a) CO2 emissions reduction, and (b) management planning and coordination.