Office of Atoms for Peace, Chatuchak, Bangkok, 10900, Thailand
Thailand has been widely known as one of the world leading seafood exporters, generating substantial incomes for local fishermen and also boosts up the country’s economy for decades. In addition, Thai people strongly rely on seafood as a protein source. Until recently, increasing CO2 emission rates into the atmosphere, which eventually precipitate into ocean, have caused pH in seawater to be decreased. This reducing pH becomes a serious threat to coastal and marine organisms leading to devastation of fragile ecosystem and a decline of economy growth. A situation seems to be worse as the seawater pH continues to reduce. In order to avoid undesirable losses and to remediate damaged ecosystems effective protective and mitigation measures are urgently required. Although the seawater temperature monitoring program is being carried out in Thailand, data generated is not sufficient to create appropriate action to combat consequences of ocean acidification. Therefore, biological impacts resulting from ocean acidification on the Thai marine biota, especially commercially important and calcifying species, need to be investigated to provide additional scientific data for making the sustainable environmental management policy. The National Radioecology Laboratory (NREL) was then established in 2015 with financial support from the Royal Thai Government and technical advices from the IAEA’s Environment Laboratories in Monaco. NREL will provide scientists and researchers both in Thailand and in the region with an opportunity to apply powerful and sensitive isotopic and nuclear techniques including the radiotracer-based Ca-45 technique to examine feasible effects of increased seawater acidity on species calcification rate. Generated information from NREL will be used in conjunction with other monitored environmental parameters such as temperature and pH in seawater to improve the national environmental management plan to protect our ecosystem and economy from being directly and indirectly affected by decreasing ocean pH levels.