Opinion: Ocean acidification threatens Florida

I’m an angler and surfer. I spend every moment I can spare on the water with my two sons, who fish and surf with me in Florida’s beautiful offshore waters. They’re developing a strong love for the ocean, which makes me proud and allows me to share a culture with them that ties us closely to the water.

But unfortunately, my sons, fellow anglers and surfers, and I have seen some unsettling changes in the ocean and the life it supports in the past several years — fish migrate earlier, there’s less sea grass to protect and house young sea life, oyster crops are declining, and coral reefs are bleaching. There’s probably no single reason to blame for these changes, but we do know that ocean acidification could be partly responsible.

Ocean acidification is a change in ocean chemistry that happens when carbon pollution from the atmosphere is absorbed into the ocean. This makes ocean waters acidify, so that oysters, clams and corals have trouble building their shells and skeletons. Also, sharks, cobia and dolphinfish have trouble hearing and smelling in these acidified waters. Scientists expect that these changes could have ripple effects up and down the food chain.

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About the author

Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is the online editor for National Fisherman.

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