Lobster production in Atlantic Canada impacted by ocean acidification

Lobster is the most lucrative fishery in Atlantic Canada. Key lobster production areas in the Gulf of Maine, Bay of Fundy and Scotian shelf are highly susceptible to ocean acidification due to poor regional buffering capacity and coastal nutrient inputs. Ocean acidification studies on both the early larval phases (stages I-IV) and early benthic phase juveniles found slowed growth and an increased time between moults in more acidified seawater conditions. Low pH can also cause deformities in lobster larvae. When lobsters are smaller and when they remain in the pelagic phase for longer periods, there is an increased likelihood of predation, therefore potentially limiting benthic recruitment. Delayed growth of benthic juveniles also increases predation susceptibility, and ultimately affects population dynamics. Juvenile benthic lobsters in acidified conditions are also more susceptible to shell disease.

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