CO2 in oceans may ‘intoxicate’ fish, study finds
PARIS — By mid-century, higher levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in ocean water could leave fish “intoxicated,” becoming lost at sea, a study said Wednesday.
The oceans absorb about a third of the CO2 released by mankind’s burning of coal, oil and gas — their chemical composition changing over time to become more acidic.
Scientists from the University of New South Wales in Australia have now calculated that rising CO2 concentrations could cause a phenomenon known as hypercapnia in fish already by 2050 — much earlier than once thought possible.
“Essentially, the fish become lost at sea,” lead author Ben McNeil said in a statement of the condition.
“The carbon dioxide affects their brains and they lose their sense of direction and ability to find their way home. They don’t even know where their predators are.”
McNeil and colleague Tristan Sasse based their projections on worst-case-scenario carbon dioxide trajectories, implying that humans do nothing to curb their emissions.
“We’ve shown that if atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution continues to rise, fish and other marine creatures in CO2 hotspots in the Southern, Pacific and North Atlantic oceans will experience episodes of hypercapnia by the middle of this century — much sooner than had been predicted, and with more damaging effects than thought,” said McNeil.
This could have profound impacts for commercial and subsistence fishing, the duo warned.
The world’s nations sealed a climate pact in Paris last month to limit average global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by cutting back on emissions.
You may be interested
Slothy Sunday: Just hanging outAlejandro Zúñiga - May 26, 2019
Last week, Denise Gillen, a sloth nanny from the Toucan Rescue Ranch, shared the story of Bon Jovi, a sloth…
Twice as nice: Güity wins second gold at Grand PrixAlejandro Zúñiga - May 25, 2019
A day after he placed himself atop the world rankings with his time in the 200-meter T64 at the 2019…
Costa Rica obtains $500 million from CAF for fiscal supportAFP and The Tico Times - May 25, 2019
The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) on Friday granted a $500 million credit to Costa Rica to support the…