Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on coral reef fisheries: An integrated ecological–economic model

• We projected the effects of ocean acidification and global warming on coral reef fisheries.
• Under several ocean acidification and IPCC emission scenarios, landings decline as 92% of global coral cover is lost by 2100.
• To project consumer welfare losses under these scenarios, we estimate a global model of demand for commercial reef fish.
• By 2100, avoiding 2.5 W m− 2 of forcing preserves $14 to $20 billion in consumer surplus (TPV, 2014 USD, 3% discount rate).
• Benefits of policy action appear highest when coral ecosystems have moderate adaptive capacity.
Coral reefs are highly productive shallow marine habitats at risk of degradation due to CO2-mediated global ocean changes, including ocean acidification and rising sea temperature. Consequences of coral reef habitat loss are expected to include reduced reef fisheries production. To our knowledge, the welfare impact of reduced reef fish supply in commercial markets has not yet been studied. We develop a global model of annual demand for reef fish in regions with substantial coral reef area and use it to project potential consumer surplus losses given coral cover projections from a coupled climate, ocean, and coral biology simulation (CO2-COST). Under an illustrative high emission scenario (IPCC RCP 8.5), 92% of coral cover is lost by 2100. Policies reaching lower radiative forcing targets (e.g., IPCC RCP 6.0) may partially avoid habitat loss, thereby preserving an estimated $14 to $20 billion in consumer surplus through 2100 (2014$ USD, 3% discount). Avoided damages vary annually, are sensitive to biological assumptions, and appear highest when coral ecosystems have moderate adaptive capacity. These welfare loss estimates are the first to monetize ocean acidification impacts to commercial finfisheries and complement the existing estimates of economic impacts to shellfish and to coral reefs generally.
File:Underwater World.jpg
by Ann E. Speers 1 and 3, Elena Y. Besedin 1, James E. Palardy 1 and Chris Moore 2
1. Environment and Resources Division, Abt Associates, Inc., 55 Wheeler St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
2. National Center for Environmental Economics, Environmental Protection Agency, 1301 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004, USA
3. Opinion Dynamics, 1000 Winter St., Waltham MA 02451 USA
Ecological Economics via Elsevier Science Direct
Volume 128; August, 2016; Pages 33–43
Keywords: Coral reefs; Ocean acidification; Climate change; Consumer demand for fish; Reef fisheries

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