Oysters at hatcheries in Oregon are showing the effects of ocean acidification. Photo: Oregon State University.
As steward of 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR is paying close attention to ocean acidification. Recent research, funded by the National Science Foundation, only fuels our concerns that rising acidity of the Pacific Ocean has a direct effect on the larval growth of shellfish.
The research was conducted in a commercial oyster hatchery in Oregon, which suffered a collapse in oyster seed production. However, scientific studies reveal that waters in our state are also becoming more acidic, making it all the more urgent that we take steps to mitigate ecologic and economic harm.
On March 30, the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification convened for the first time. The panel is part of the Washington Shellfish Initiative and comprises a diverse group of state agencies, representatives of the aquaculture community, environmental organizations, tribes and other local leaders.
Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark was appointed to the panel, which has its second meeting today, April 25.
“As a scientist, I am keenly interested in using sound science to better understand the interrelation of human actions and the environment,” Commissioner Goldmark says. “Sound science is telling us more about the connection between climate change and ocean acidification.”
The Blue Ribbon Panel will identify ways to advance our scientific understanding of the problem and reduce the harmful effects of acidification on Washington’s shellfish and other marine resources. In October 2012, the panel will release recommendations to the Governor.
Learn more about the Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification and its focus for this important issue.