Fishing grounds threatened by increasing carbon dioxide emissions –

Fishing grounds threatened by increasing carbon dioxide emissions Published:  14 April, 2009

SOME of the northern hemisphere’s most important fishing grounds are being threatened by increasing carbon dioxide emissions, according to new research.

Scientists at the Bjerknessenteret climate centre in Norway have found that the CO2 in the water is so strong that it is causing sea water to become acidic with the result that marine life along a large part of the Norwegian coast is at risk.

The Norway Post, says this may have dire consequences for Norwegian shellfish and coral reefs because the acidity makes shells and coral reef skeletons dissolve, which in turn will have consequences for the coral reef-reliant cod.

The process of increasingly acidic sea water is happening faster in the Arctic regions than anywhere else, scientist Richard Bellerby at Bjerknessenteret says.

Because cold water absorbs more CO2, the water becomes more acidic. This environmental threat to stocks is a major issue in Norway where fishing communities have been campaigning against the effects of expanded oil and gas exploration.

Environmentalists are worried about the threat of climate change from ”greenhouse warming,” caused by the release of industrial gases such as carbon dioxide.

The gas can dissolve in seawater, but does so relatively slowly. Speeding that process by pumping the gas deep into the ocean has been suggested as one way of reducing the greenhouse threat.

Some researchers believe that the problem is leading to the most dramatic changes in marine chemistry for more than half a million years and is a bigger threat to stocks than over fishing.