Poor coastal hypoxia and acidification policy leaves marine fisheries at risk

April 23, 2020

Current regulatory standards regarding the dissolved oxygen and pH levels of coastal waters have not kept pace with the scientific understanding of hypoxia and acidification, nor with the mounting evidence of their negative impact on coastal marine life. In light of these shortcomings, a Policy Forum by Stephen Tomasetti and Christopher Gobler argues the need for new approaches to coastal policy that account for new knowledge, and ultimately, that lead to improved protection of important coastal fisheries worldwide. Coastal hypoxia, or the depletion of dissolved oxygen (DO) in near-shore marine ecosystems, is often caused by runoff pollution from agricultural fertilizers. The overabundance of nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients induces the excessive growth of algal blooms, which use the water's DO, converting it into acidic carbon dioxide molecules and hydrogen ions. The process can quickly turn warm, poorly mixed coastal waters acidic and starved of oxygen. While recent research has demonstrated the concurrent effects of low DO and low pH are more severe for marine life than either effect individually, Tomasetti and Gobler discuss how aging water policies do not account for their combined effects. What's more, current Environmental Protection Agency pH standards allow for levels now known to impact coastal marine life negatively. According to the authors, these regulatory criteria put many coastal fisheries at risk, and this risk will likely intensify as climate change-induced reductions in ocean pH and DO accelerate into the coming century.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Acidification Articles from Brightsurf:

Could kelp help relieve ocean acidification?
A new analysis of California's Monterey Bay evaluates kelp's potential to reduce ocean acidification, the harmful fallout from climate change on marine ecosystems and the food they produce for human populations.

For red abalone, resisting ocean acidification starts with mom
Red abalone mothers from California's North Coast give their offspring an energy boost when they're born that helps them better withstand ocean acidification compared to their captive, farmed counterparts, according to a study from the Bodega Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Davis.

Ocean warming and acidification effects on calcareous phytoplankton communities
A new study led by researchers from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) warns that the negative effects of rapid ocean warming on planktonic communities will be exacerbated by ocean acidification.

Great Barrier Reef 'glue' at risk from ocean acidification
Scientists have suspected that increasing ocean acidity would weaken and thin the structures underpinning tropical reefs.

Ocean acidification causing coral 'osteoporosis' on iconic reefs
Scientists have long suspected that ocean acidification is affecting corals' ability to build their skeletons, but it has been challenging to isolate its effect from that of simultaneous warming ocean temperatures, which also influence coral growth.

Arctic Ocean acidification worse than previously expected
Arctic Ocean acidification worse than previously expected.

Protecting bays from ocean acidification
As oceans absorb more man-made carbon dioxide from the air, a process of ocean acidification occurs that can have a negative impact on marine life.

Ocean acidification prediction now possible years in advance
CU Boulder researchers have developed a method that could enable scientists to accurately forecast ocean acidity up to five years in advance.

Ocean acidification impacts oysters' memory of environmental stress
Researchers from the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences have discovered that ocean acidification impacts the ability of some oysters to pass down 'memories' of environmental trauma to their offspring.

Coral 'helper' stays robust under ocean acidification
A type of algae crucial to the survival of coral reefs may be able to resist the impacts of ocean acidification caused by climate change.

Read More: Acidification News and Acidification Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.