Rising Indian Ocean temperature puts habitation at risk: Experts

The Indian Ocean is seen warming up fast due to global warming, and this is likely to pose a severe threat to habitation of species, marine experts said on Thursday.

The Indian Ocean is seen warming faster than the Atlantic and would affect Indian fisheries through changes in stock productivity and its distribution, they said.

Speaking at the opening session of a winter school on climate change in marine fisheries, being organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), A Ramachandran, vice chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS), said the climate change is causing floods and drought across the globe.

According to him, increased water temperature and higher carbon dioxide concentration make oceans more acidic. Ramachandran warned that there would be a drop in productivity in future due to a gradual damage occurred to the ecosystem and biodiversity owing to climate change. He also said strong commitment of stakeholders and coordinated efforts are required to stimulate growth of the country’s blue economy in a more sustainable way.

A Gopalakrishnan, director of CMFRI, said the Indian Ocean is warming (0.11°C per decade) faster than the Atlantic (0.07°C per decade) and the Pacific (0.05°C per decade), and the sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean will increase by 0.60°C by 2050.

“However, Indian marine fish harvesting is more ecofriendly compared to the global scenario. Our marine fisheries is emitting 17.5% less carbon footprints compared to the global average when it comes to fishing materials involved in fishery”, he said.

“The CMFRI has catalogued resource-wise information and the institute is in the process of predicting fish biomass changes in our oceans. The CMFRI has also prepared adaptation strategies to climate change with action plan. Research on estimating primary productivity of Indian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for assessing the carrying capacity in Indian waters with respect to climate change is also under way”, Gopalakrishnan said.

PU Zacharia, course director of the winter school and head of the Demersal Fisheries division of the CMFRI, said the country experienced 24 extreme climatic events around the Indian coasts resulting in loss of life and property. “Estimates of climate change impacts are essential to devise climate change policies and suggest adaptation and mitigation measures”, he added.

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