Workshop assesses climate change risks to marine environment

Muscat, The Arabian Gulf University (AGU) has taken part in a workshop organised by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in Oman, in cooperation with the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME).

Experts from ROPME and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in the United Kingdom also took part in the forum in Muscat. AGU was represented by Marine Biology Professor at the Natural Resources and Environment Department Thamer Al Dawood.

The forum focused on assessing the risks of climate change to the marine environment in the Ropme sea area.

The risks were based on the findings of the report prepared by the ROPME on the impacts of climate change on the biodiversity of marine environments and species as well as the socio-economic aspects related to the marine environment and its living and non-living resources.

In this regard, experts were able to specify the most important risk priorities in the likelihood of occurrence and magnitude of the potential risk by reviewing environmental indicators and climate phenomena related to climate change.

This included high temperatures, sea level, salinity, hurricanes, storms, food enrichment and the growth of harmful algal blooms and their impacts on sensitive marine environments, such as coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses. Its impact on threatened species such as dugongs, turtles, dolphins and some fish and benthic species was studied.

The Ropme sea area is facing several challenges due to the rapid economic growth that resulted in creating new pressure factors on the marine environment,” Al Dawood said.

“The meetings held on the sidelines of the workshop contributed to the exchange of views, expertise and proposals, in order to come up with the best practices in the preparation of an action strategy for the region.

In the coming months, a preliminary report will be prepared by ROPME on the risks of climate change to the marine environment, along the lines of the preliminary report on the impacts of climate change, he added.

The report will be reviewed by experts and then discussed in another workshop to identify possible opportunities for adaptation and mitigation.

Source: Bahrain News Agency