Seafood enthusiasts won’t like the news about global warming in Alaska

J.P. Leous

It can help your cholesterol problems, is a healthy source of protein, contains essential oils, and has even been dubbed “brain food” — and your ability to buy it will be impacted by the effects global warming has on a state many of us will never be lucky enough to visit.

Yes, I’m talking about seafood — and yes, much of our seafood comes from Alaska.

Fun fish fact for the day: Alaska’s $3 billion fishing industry employs more than 20,000 Alaskans — and provides nearly 50 percent of the seafood Americans consume each year.

Not-so-fun fish fact for the day: Alaska’s northern fisheries are at serious risk due to ocean acidification, warmer waters, and salinity changes from increasing carbon pollution levels and melting ice caps.

This is just one example of how the effects of climate change will have very dramatic local impacts that spider-web in powerful ways throughout our economy and way of life; even changing what ends up on our dinner table.

The Wilderness Society recently completed analyses on global warming’s effect on various states, and this week released its report on Global Warming and Alaska. Major takeaways?:

  • Alaska is warming at more than twice the rate of the rest of the country — and will likely experience the greatest temperature increases in the Arctic.

While one might think warmer weather would be welcome in such a frigid place, think again. Warming temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are already hurting communities across the state.

From coastal erosion and sea-level rise to declining snowpack and effects on wildlife, climate change is hitting Alaskans in fundamental and economically devastating ways. This makes our efforts to combat climate change all the more pressing.

So next time you sit down to enjoy some seafood, think about what kind of place the world would be without this seemingly simple pleasure — and think about what you can do to ensure that never occurs.

Help keep more fish swimming here.