A new study, supported by NCCOS and the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program, examined a variety of marine ecosystems from the tropics to the arctic under different environmental conditions and management practices using the Atlantis modeling framework. The Atlantis model allows testing of alternative management options and identifying trade-offs among human uses within a fishery. Results suggested ecosystems experience stronger impacts from ocean acidification (OA) and marine protected areas (MPAs), compared to different fishing pressures.
Ocean acidification effects were typically negative, leading to a decline in fish species reproduction (thus reducing biomass), which would counteract any benefits of marine conservation efforts. Incorporating marine protected areas created both species “winners” and “losers.” Changing fishing pressure (doubling or halving) had smaller effects than either ocean acidification or marine protected areas.
The impacts and trade-offs implied by these future scenarios are highly relevant as ocean governance considers competing management objectives, like simultaneous spatial management of energy, shipping, and fishing, while at the same time grappling with compounded impacts of threats like ocean acidification and warming).
Citation: Olsen, Erik, Isaac C. Kaplan, Cameron Ainsworth, Gavin Fay, Sarah Gaichas, Robert Gamble, Raphael Girardin, Cecilie H. Eide, Thomas F. Ihde, Hem Nalini Morzaria-Luna, Kelli F. Johnson, Marie Savina-Rolland, Howard Townsend, Mariska Weijerman, Elizabeth A. Fulton, and Jason S. Link. 2018. Ocean Futures Under Ocean Acidification, Marine Protection, and Changing Fishing Pressures Explored Using a Worldwide Suite of Ecosystem Models. Frontiers in Marine Science, 01 March 2018 https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2018.00064