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Ocean research is informing innovative solutions that benefit both the economy and the environment. Examples are technologies that turn fish waste into valuable byproducts, such as fish oil or collagen supplements, and new fisheries tools that efficiently harvests scallops with less impact to the sea floor.

These are some of the tangible benefits resulting from inquiries into how and why the ocean is changing – and how research can identify effective approaches to ocean development, says Wendy Watson-Wright, CEO of the Ocean Frontier Institute (OFI), an interdisciplinary and transnational ocean research hub situated in geographic proximity to the Northwest Atlantic, the most intense sink for carbon on the planet.

Over the past 200 years, the ocean’s net uptake of carbon dioxide is equivalent to 42 to 44 per cent of emissions associated with human activity. Eight to 10 per cent of that amount has been sequestered within the Northwest Atlantic, due to an “overturning circulation,” where northward-flowing near-surface waters reach the Labrador Sea and areas east of Greenland. There, the surface water becomes dense and sinks to a considerable depth, from where a deep cold current transports these waters far into the ocean’s interior.

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Dr. Watson-Wright says, “The ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide has far-reaching consequences for the global climate – it also has important social and economic implications.”

In addition to working with international teams of researchers to assess and monitor the effectiveness of the ocean’s carbon sink, OFI brings together collaborations dedicated to translating knowledge into solutions in a number of areas, including fisheries, aquaculture, security and technology, she adds.

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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