Altered weather patterns, exacerbated drought and flood cycles, increased incidence of wildfires, melting glaciers—we frequently hear about how human-induced climate change is affecting everyday life and the world around us. But the attention frequently focuses on terrestrial impacts, stopping at the coastline with observance of rising sea levels.
Oceans have played a critical role in shielding Earth from some of the more serious impacts of climate change by absorbing approximately 30 percent of emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide. However, this has resulted in an approximate 26 percent increase in acidity of oceans since the industrial period. This not only presents the scientific challenge of addressing the problem of ocean acidification and its impacts on ocean marine life, but also presents many legal challenges.
The oceans and their biodiversity are coming under increasing threat from climate-change impacts including increasing water temperatures, deoxygenation, and ocean acidification. The adverse effects of climate change are exacerbating the stresses experienced by species, habitats, and ecosystems in all marine areas and diminishing the ecological services they provide.
Climate change and associated ocean acidification present varied and complex threats to Antarctic fisheries, making conservation and sustainable management of these fisheries more challenging than ever. The ecosystem approach is generally considered to be the most effective way of enhancing the climate resilience of fisheries, and the Commission on the Conservation and Management of Antarctic Marine Living Resources is expressly charged with implementing that approach in achieving its conservation objective.