Humans are changing the ocean’s chemistry. Seawater absorbs much of the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere; In addition, more carbon is entering the water from land-based sources. In coastal regions, runoff, stormwater and other pollution makes the situation worse.
The result is an increase in acidity that damages the basic building blocks of life needed by oysters, clams, corals and other animals to make their shells and skeletons.
Cold waters accelerate this dynamic; the impacts from ocean acidification are being seen right now in the Arctic and in the Pacific Northwest. Ocean Conservancy is working with partners across the United States to raise awareness of this threat to our coastal communities.
The West Coast is on the frontline of this issue due to its unique geography, leading to colder, deeper, more corrosive water arriving on its shores.
Shellfish growers on both coasts note the threat ocean acidification poses to their livelihoods as they struggle to keep businesses up and running. As the dangerous acidification trajectory continues upward, shellfish, including oysters, mussels and crabs, may soon become scarce on people’s dinner plates —and hard to come by for hungry ocean wildlife.
Ocean Conservancy is getting the word out to make sure people on both coasts understand this complex ocean threat. We need to reduce our carbon emissions to tackle ocean acidification at its root.
There are local actions to reduce runoff and support research investments to protect jobs, businesses and the unique way of life our coastal communities sustain. We’re working with partners and people on the front lines to create support for local and regional actions to address acidification.
Do you have a local group that you belong to that is doing something to help? Let us know so we can find people to join your efforts!
SOURCE: Ocean Conservancy