Washington state, the leading US producer of farmed shellfish, this week launched a 42-step plan to reduce ocean acidification. The initiative — detailed in a report by a governor-appointed panel of scientists, policy-makers and shellfish industry representatives — marks the first US state-funded effort to tackle ocean acidification, a growing problem for both the region and the globe.
The state governor Christine Gregoire, says she will allocate $3.3 million to back the panel’s priority recommendations.
“Washington is clearly in the lead with respect to ocean acidification,” says Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
As growing carbon dioxide gas emissions have dissolved into the world’s oceans, the average acidity of the waters has increased by 30% since 1750. Washington, which produces farmed oysters, clams and mussels, is particularly vulnerable to acidification, for two reasons: seasonal, wind-driven upwelling events bring low-pH waters from the deep ocean towards the shore, and land-based nutrient runoff from farming fuels algal growth, which also lowers pH.
Read the full story in Nature.
- Study: Our Oceans Are So Acidic They’re Dissolving Snails (The Atlantic)
- OSU researchers link acidification to oyster hatchery collapse (OSU News & Research Communications)
- Current Oregon Sea Grant research on ocean acidification and commercial shellfish
- Oregon Sea Video: An ocean acidification primer, featuring Dr. Richard Feely of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory