Ocean acidification could cause an annual damage to the European shellfish production of €0.9 billion by 2100, according to a recent study.

Ocean acidification decreases the level of carbonate in the ocean, impacting many species that use calcium carbonate to form their skeletons and shells, including corals, algae and shellfish. While much research has been done on the impact of ocean acidification on shellfish growth, very little is known about the economic implications on shellfish production from aquaculture. Europe is the second largest producer of shellfish from aquaculture worldwide, and represents a region where a variety of different shellfish species are cultured.

The study by Daiju Narita and Katrin Rehdanz on the economic impact of ocean acidification on the European shellfish production shows that not all European countries, regions, and cultured species will be affected equally by ocean acidification, even though it is a global problem. France will be the European country mostly affected by ocean acidification, followed by Italy, the United Kingdom and Spain. Whereas the oyster production in France will be mostly affected, in the Netherlands, Denmark and Greece the mussel production will experience the most economic losses from ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification is the result of chemical reactions of CO2 with water. The world’s oceans absorb approximately one third of the CO2 released into the atmosphere every year by human activity, thus substantially slowing down climate change, but at the increasingly better understood cost of acidification. 

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