Fish & climate change

It turns out that fish play an important role in mitigating climate change. But it wasn’t known til now. A study published in the Jan. 16 edition of Science reports that fish help maintain ocean chemistry, specially the ph balance.

In other words, they are natural allies in combating ocean acidification.

Villy Christensen, fisheries researcher and co-author of the study, found that, fish take in a lot of calcium as they drink seawater. This calcium would create renal stones, if retained in excess, so fish naturally excrete it by binding the calcium to bicarbonate, which then becomes calcium carbonate pellets. These pellets then dissolve into the ocean, making it more alkaline, counteracting the effect of ocean acidification.

The researchers went on to document the current biomass of ocean fish, coming up with a range between 0.8 and 2 billion tonnes.

“This study really is the first glimpse of the huge impact fish have on our carbon cycle – and why we need them in the ocean,” says Christensen. “We must buck the current trend of clear-cutting of the oceans and foster these unrecognized allies against climate change.”

The results suggest that, if we were to foster the rebuilding of the world’s fish stocks, rather than fish to excess as we currently do, there would be multiple benefits to human economies (fishermen & the seafood trade), human culture (the pleasures of eating sushi). Not to mention the environment and ameliorating the effects of ocean acidification.

And we wouldn’t have to spend any money on the doubtful technological solutions being suggested for ocean acidification. We’d spend no money at all, just let fish do what they do naturally.


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