Fish Radio
Network keeps ocean acidification on AK radar

August 12, 2016



This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch.  Keeping acid ocean impacts in Alaska’s public eye. More on a new network after this –

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Alaska is the fourth US region to launch a go to website aimed at keeping ocean acidification in the public eye. The Alaska Ocean Acidification Network went live last month.

 The more educated Alaskans are the more creative thy can be thinking about adaptation strategies and the more confident we can be that we can work together to still have a sustainable future here in Alaska.

Darcy Dugan is Network coordinator and on staff at the Alaska Ocean Observing System. Ocean acidification is caused mainly by carbon dioxide emissions which changes seawater chemistry and makes it tough for marine creatures to grow shells. Alaska is more susceptible than other regions because our waters are colder and older and can hold more C02.

 We are so reliant on the ocean for our lives and livelihood. You look at the seafood industry is about $5.8 billion, it’s the largest private sector employer in the state, and you think about the direct and indirect effects of OA and the implications.   

The Alaska OA Network provides a forum for researchers and a means to share latest findings with local communities. For several years, mooring stations have tracked acidic fluctuations in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and at the Alutiiq Pride Hatchery in Seward. Dugan says over 12-hundred ship board samples have been taken over several years and they already have some dire forecasts for Arctic waters –

In Alaska we are not seeing impacts yet, but once we leave that natural range of variability we are going into the unknown.11 And they are anticipating that the Beaufort will be first to leave its natural range of variability around 2025, followed by the Chukchi in 2027 and the Bering in 2044.   

Results from a project on baby Tanner crabs show that higher ocean acidity affects both their shell production and their immune systems.   And, Dugan says, Alaska stocks face added threats from a warming planet.

The double whammy of changing ocean chemistry and higher temperatures.  

Ocean Acidification is in the lineup at next week’s Aleutian Life Forum in Unalaska and at a free State of the Science Workshop in November in Anchorage.

Basically, the more we can understand the more we can anticipate and respond.

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.