Food from the ocean will become even more important in the years to come as the world human population is projected to reach over 10 billion people by 2050. Already, the climate changes are affecting us globally and locally. One of the goals for the ocean decade is to resolve the link between climate and safe and healthy seafood. The main aim of CLIMESEAFOOD is to develop new ecosystem models that can advance the process understanding of how a rapidly changing climate is impacting contaminant transport dynamics in the Barents Sea marine ecosystems and relevant seafood. With the new marine ecosystem models, it will be possible to predict how critical contaminants such as PCB and mercury will be affected by different climate scenarios. The project will also contribute to the generic process-based understanding of how contaminants is being transferred from low trophic organisms to organisms high in the food web. In addition, we will get a very detailed description of the lipid chemistry of marine organisms. A novel data bank will be established administered by the Norwegian Marine Data Centre for making historic data on lipid biochemistry, stable isotopes and persistent organic pollutants from different species and trophic levels, areas and years. Besides the effects of climate change on the contaminant fate and transport dynamics, the project will also investigate how high latitude marine ecosystems’ respond to changing environmental conditions by using state of the art “omics” tools. Finally, a risk assessment of future seafood in different climate and fisheries management scenarios will be performed using rodent models. The project will provide a unique knowledge platform for future ecosystem and seafood risk assessments.
The arctic amplification of anthropogenic global warming is changing the biogeochemical and physical settings of the ocean. Such changes would affect contaminant fate and transport dynamics in ways that are not yet well understood. The Barents Sea is part of the Norwegian Exclusive Economic Zone which makes Norway the world's second-largest exporter of seafood. Over the last decade, one of the largest and most unique biological databases on contaminants in Northeast Atlantic seafood species of economic and ecological significance, has been built, filling knowledge gaps related to geographical and seasonal variation of various contaminants in fish species, but not yet in the context of a rapidly changing climate. The role of the ocean in a food and nutrition security context is becoming increasingly important and seafood from arctic ecosystems will likely be an important fishery for future harvests. Envisioning a future with increased seafood harvests could require sustainable use via traditional fisheries, but increased fishing pressure at lower trophic levels may accommodate a growing human population. Despite this, the understanding of how climate change and future increased fishing pressure is impacting the transport and fate of critical contaminants in dynamic food webs and seafood, is unknown. CLIMESEAFOOD will solve this by developing new marine mechanistic ecosystem models that can advance the process understanding of how a rapidly changing climate is impacting contaminant fate and transport dynamics in the Barents Sea marine ecosystems and relevant seafood taxa in support of sustainable development. It will advance our understanding of impacts, sources, fate, and transport dynamics of contaminants under different future climate and fisheries management modeling scenarios. Outcomes will be a significant advancement in our understanding of contaminant trophic transfer dynamics in the context of seafood safety and changing climate conditions.