Ocean use planning, acidification subjects of Oct. 10 public meeting

OLYMPIA – The public is invited to participate in a discussion about the status and funding of ocean use planning projects and ocean acidification at the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council public meeting Wednesday Oct. 10 in Aberdeen.

The meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Port of Grays Harbor Commissioner Meeting Room, 111 S. Wooding St.

Planning ocean uses, called marine spatial planning, is an approach adopted by the 2010 Washington Legislature. It is intended to help reduce conflicts among ocean uses such as maritime shipping, economic development, fishing, aquaculture and recreation, and balance the benefits humans receive from the ocean while decreasing human-caused environmental damage.

The process will involve extensive public outreach to members from Washington’s fishing and shellfish industries, maritime shipping, recreation, ports and local communities along the coast.

Ocean acidification occurs as oceans accumulate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, from polluted runoff and from other sources. When saltwater becomes acidic, it harms the shell-making ability of oysters, clams, scallops and mussels. It poses a threat to other marine life as well.

Washington has a big stake in understanding ocean acidification because the state leads the nation in producing farmed clams, oysters and mussels, valued at more than $270 million a year.

In March 2012, Gov. Chris Gregoire convened a Blue Ribbon Panel to recommend actions for responding to increasing ocean acidification, reduce harmful effects on Washington’s shellfish and other marine resources, and adapt to the consequences of acidified waters.

The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) formed the advisory council in 2011 to advise the State Ocean Caucus, a team made up of state agencies with a management role or expertise in ocean and coastal issues.

The advisory council coordinates with federal and state agencies as well as local and tribal governments and provides local perspectives and solutions for marine resource issues, projects and conflicts.

The unpaid group meets about four times a year. People on the advisory group represent a wide array of coastal and ocean interests including Marine Resource committees, commercial and recreational fishing, shellfish aquaculture, conservation, economic development, education, local citizens, ports, scientific research and maritime shipping.

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Media Contacts:

Jennifer Hennessey, Ecology ocean policy coordinator, 360-407-6595 (jennifer.hennessey@ecy.wa.gov)

Curt Hart, Ecology media relations, 360-407-6990; cell, 360-480-7908 (curt.hart@ecy.wa.gov)

More information:

Department of Ecology, State of Washington, 28 September 2012. News release.


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