Ocean acidification threatens fisheries, says UNEP – SciDev.Net
Rising CO2 emissions, a quarter of which eventually dissolve in the oceans to produce carbonic acid, have caused a 30 per cent drop in ocean pH values, reflecting an increase in ocean acidity, according to the report, produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Acidification can reduce the growth and affect the development of smaller fish. For example, it can impair orientation and sense of smell in young clownfish, making them more vulnerable to predators.
A major concern, said the report, is that corals and shellfish may find it harder to form their skeletons, resulting in “significant future impacts on catches of crabs, mussels and other shellfish; species dependent on coral reefs and ones such as salmon that feed on smaller, shell-building organisms lower down the food chain”.
Fisheries and aquacultures are an important source of food and income for most of the world’s poorer communities, with around a billion depending on fish as their sole source of protein.