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Placing Ocean Acidification in a wider Fisheries Context (PLACID) - MF1113

Evidence suggests that absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ocean has already decreased pH levels by 0.1 pH units since 1750, and CO2 concentrations are projected to rise further by the end of the century as fossil fuel reserves continue to be exploited. The potential effects of ocean acidification (OA) are poorly understood but have prompted considerable interest among scientists and concern among policy makers, NGOs and the UK fishing industry.

In the UK, fisheries generate more than £800 million of revenue per year and support 30,000 jobs. Aquaculture generates £350 million and supports a further 4,200 jobs. According to the 2008 UK Climate Change Act the government is required to conduct a Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) every five years, and shortly after that, to put in place a National Adaptation Programme (NAP). The first UK CCRA (published in January 2012) highlighted that important maritime industries (notably aquaculture and fisheries) may be threatened to OA but knowledge concerning these effects is still severely limited. Most of the OA research undertaken to date has concentrated on of plankton and benthic invertebrates of limited direct commercial importance.

The PLACID project will help to address some of the major knowledge gaps, concentrating mainly on commercial shellfish species (lobsters, crab, cockles and whelks). In particular the project will generate: (1) new understanding of OA effects on shellfish fisheries, including quantification of economic consequences and magnitudes; (2) new information via multi-factorial experiments to investigate the effects of environmental co-stressors (temperature, metals, increased pCO2 etc) on key commercial shellfish species; (3) modelling studies that make use of the newly acquired experimental evidence to ‘scale up’ to population or ecosystem level effects, most notably using ‘state of the art’ Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) approaches as well as energetics-based models of fish larval development; (4) the project will collect in-situ and underway monitoring data (TA,DIC, pCO2) and thus provide insight into spatial and temporal variability of pH in waters around the UK, in support of long-term statutory monitoring requirements and international initiatives focussed on OA ‘observatories’. The PLACID project will draw on a multi-disciplinary team of biologists, economists, and modellers. It will provide inputs to the UK Marine Climate Change Impact Partnership (MCCIP) as well as the next UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) in 2017.
The primary aim of this project will be to enhance the evidence-base the potential effects of ocean acidification for commercially important species (e.g. selected species are: crabs, lobster, cockles and whelks), ahead of the next UK Climate Change Risk Assessment in 2017. This information will also provide inputs to the UK Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) as well as picking up on many of the most pressing risks or opportunities identified in the October 2012 MACCAP report. Marine risks are often overlooked in national or international assessments (including the IPCC 4th Assessment). Maritime industries were not covered at all in the 2006 ‘Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change’ funded by the UK Treasury. The PLACID project draws together a multidisciplinary team of experienced scientists ranging from experimental fish and invertebrate physiologists, ecologists, fisheries economists, and ecological modelers. The overall objectives of this study will be:

a) To examine the direct physiological effects of OA on commercial invertebrate (lobster, crab, cockle and whelk) species through laboratory studies and links to projects elsewhere. This will include a literature review of national and global studies on effects of ocean acidification relating to fisheries and aquaculture.
b) To quantify socio-economic consequences of ocean acidification in the United Kingdom, associated with losses to commercial shellfish fisheries and aquaculture (building on the CCRA analysis of Pinnegar et al. 2012)
c) To use models to provide mechanistic predictions of species responses to ocean acidification. This will include a targeted initiative focusing on “state of the art‟ DEB models.
d) To examine the implications of changes in larval energetic requirements and zooplankton community structure on fin-fish larvae growth and mortality and thus ‘knock on’ implications for fish stock-recruitment dynamics.
e) To continue monitoring and surveillance (for 3 more years) of pCO2 and carbonate chemistry (pH, DIC, TA) in UK territorial waters, through discrete sample collection (and processing at NOC Southampton) and underway pCO2 measurements aboard RV Cefas Endeavour.
Project Documents
• TPS - Two Page Summary : MF1113 Initial Two page summary FINAL   (326k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2016

Cost: £459,990
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Fields of Study
Marine Fisheries