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Alaska Fisheries And Communities Are At Risk From Ocean Acidification

Update Date: Jul 31, 2014 11:27 AM EDT

Ocean acidification is leading changes in waters vital to Alaska's valuable commercial fisheries and subsistence way of life, according to a new research. 

The study found that most of the Alaska's s nutritionally and economically valuable marine fisheries are located in waters that are already experiencing ocean acidification and the trend will continue in the near future. 

The study added that communities in southeast and southwest Alaska face the highest risk from ocean acidification. The reason stated was that these communities rely heavily on fisheries that are expected to be most affected by the acidification and have underlying factors that make those communities more vulnerable, such as lower incomes and fewer employment opportunities, RedOrbit reported. 

"Ocean acidification" is a process of ocean water becoming more acidic as a result of absorbing one-third of the CO2 released into the atmosphere from human sources. The change is heavily affecting marine life. 

"We went beyond the traditional approach of looking at dollars lost or species impacted; we know these fisheries are lifelines for native communities and what we've learned will help them adapt to a changing ocean environment," Jeremy Mathis, Ph.D., co-lead author of the study, an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, and the director of the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences Ocean Acidification Research Center, said in the press release. 

The study has been published online in Progress in Oceanography.

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