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Abstract

Ocean acidification has been recognized as a substantial stressor to some seawater calcifiers such as shellfish and corals with potentially significant social and economic consequences. Without mitigating atmospheric CO2 emissions, ocean acidification becomes greater over time. The aim of this study is to demonstrate the economic impacts of seawater acidity on commercial shellfish fisheries and aquaculture resources in the case of the United Kingdom. The UK is highly vulnerable to acidified seawater along the coast due to its high-catch fisheries (an averaged landing value of around 561 million in 2009–2013) of which shellfish comprises over 45 per cent of the total. To estimate the economic impacts, the methods applied are the Net Present Value approach, a Partial Equilibrium and a General Equilibrium model. A severe case such as vulnerable species in regions with upwelling seawater is estimated by applying a risk-adjusted-economic valuation approach. The simulated results, by the year 2100, indicate that the potential annual economic costs of ocean acidification vary depending on the chosen valuation methods. The mean effects range between 2% and 5% of total revenue of shellfish harvests, with a loss of at least 1.3% to the entire economy. This analysis primarily focuses on the negative effects of ocean acidification, and thus excludes effects of other stressors, such as interaction with various species, warming temperature, depleted oxygen, and water pollution.