Prof. Brooks Kaiser, Head of the Fisheries Unit at Polar Research and Policy Initiative, is one of the lead authors of AMAP Assessment 2018: Arctic Ocean Acidification, produced by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) and released on 10 October 2018 at the 2018 Arctic Biodiversity Congress in Rovaniemi, Finland. Established in 1991, AMAP is one of six Working Groups of the Arctic Council. It is directed by the Ministers of the Arctic Council and their Senior Arctic Officials, who have mandated AMAP to monitor and assess the status of the Arctic region in relation to pollution and climate change issues. Thus far, AMAP has produced a series of high-quality reports, such as its 2013- and 2018-assessment reports on Arctic Ocean Acidification.
On 10 October 2018, AMAP issued two new reports: AMAP Assessment 2018: Biological Effects of Contaminants on Arctic Wildlife and Fish and AMAP Assessment 2018: Arctic Ocean Acidification. The latter is the second such assessment report that is concerned with ocean acidification at the circumpolar Arctic level. The first of the Arctic Ocean acidification assessment reports, published in 2013, found that the Arctic Ocean is experiencing widespread and rapid, even if not geographically uniform, ocean acidification, with the primary driver being uptake of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere by human activities. Arctic marine ecosystems are likely to be significantly impacted as a consequence, with ocean acidification being among the various factors that may contribute to alteration of fish species composition and abundance in the Arctic Ocean that, in turn, could also affect the livelihoods of Arctic peoples.
While the 2013-report covered the general chemistry and physiological background of ocean acidification, the stated objectives of the 2018-assessment are to:
This assessment report is meant to provide the scientific basis and validation for the statements and recommendations made in the AMAP Arctic Ocean Acidification: Assessment Summary for Policy-makers that is to be delivered to Arctic Council Ministers at their meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland, in May 2019.
The 2018-report includes an introduction, wherein the legal framework of Arctic Ocean acidification is also examined (Chapter 1); looks at new understanding on regional Arctic Ocean acidification (Chapter 2) and biological responses to ocean acidification (Chapter 3); and provides a general overview of the socio-economic impacts of Arctic Ocean acidification on fisheries (Chapter 4). Brooks Kaiser is one of the lead authors of Chapter 4. Chapter 4 draws on five case studies prepared as part of this assessment, three of which look at specific fisheries – Norwegian kelp and sea urchins; Barents Sea cod; and Greenland shrimp – and two of which consider regional effects and responses to the fishing sector in Alaska and the western Canadian Arctic respectively.
As the report notes in its conclusions:
The report also identifies existing knowledge gaps and enlists recommendations, and stresses the need for action on adaptation to be undertaken concurrently with mitigation.