Researchers predict SE Alaska will be a hotspot for ocean acidification

Researchers with the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network (AOAA) who are awaiting results of a NOAA-funded cruise, say Southeast Alaska is expected to be a hotspot for ocean acidification.

The AOAA forecast is based on a NOAA-funded cruise that included the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay in which over 150 stations were sampled, providing a high-resolution picture of conditions and processes throughout the water column, and areas important to subsistence commercial fishing and shellfish farming.

Also noted in the AOAA November e-News was attention given to concerns over the collapse of Bering Sea crab populations and subsequent closure of the Bristol Bay red king crab and snow crab fisheries.

A standing room only crowd attended a session called “What is Going on in the North Pacific,” with speakers including Scott Goodman of the Bering Sea Fisheries Research Foundation, Jamie Goen of the Alaska Bering sea Crabbers, commercial harvester Sarah Schumann of the Fisheries Friendly Climate Action campaign and commercial harvester Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.

Goodman discussed a number of factors believed to contribute to the snow crab failure, while Goen presented data on the cost to the fleet and associated maritime businesses, and their pursuit of more flexibility in fisheries management to deal with climate change issues in the future.

Schumann focused her comments on the urgent need to address root causes of climate change through reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, while Behnken discussed ALFA initiatives to explore alternative fuels for fishing vessels. Behnken also offered support for adopting national policies that put a price on carbon emissions as a way to accelerate change away from fossil fuels.