I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Jan Newton, Principal Oceanographer with the Applied Physics Laboratory of the University of Washington and Executive Director of the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, has been studying the changing ph of Washington’s coastal waters and how the state’s shellfish industry may be hit hard by the threat of ocean acidification. During a U.S. Senate Oceans, Fisheries, Coast Guard, and Atmospheric subcommittee hearing last week regarding funding for ocean acidification monitoring Newton spoke about the importance of acidification monitoring buoys to Washington shellfish growers.
NEWTON: In our region we really only have two, and I think that this is very much underestimating the situation. We’ve been very successful with those two offshore buoys – one off La Push and one off Newport, because it tells the near shore growers when ocean acidification events are coming. But when you look at the inland waters such as Puget Sound or the Columbia River we know that very different conditions exist.
Newton also talked about building that network, not only in the Pacific Northwest, but nationwide.
NEWTON: We need a significant investment in expanding these observations but the great thing about IOOS, ( Integrated Ocean Observing System), is that the platforms are there. It’s not like we need to be putting a whole bunch of new buoys in the water because we have a lot of buoys which could be adapted to the ocean acidification monitoring buoys, and we have the human infrastructure and we have the data delivery systems. So, I think we have some of the picture, but we need the sustained support and the way to grow it.
Recent studies show a connection between ocean acidification and high mortality rates among young oysters and other shellfish like clams, geoduck and mussels.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network.
Lacy Gray, Washington Ag Today, 18 June 2013. Audio and transcript.