Increasing ocean acidification raising concerns in Maine

Shell-forming species such as clams, oysters and scallops appear to be most at risk from ocean acidification, which has increased nearly 30 percent.

For the second time in less than a year, the Island Institute convened a meeting of stakeholders, scientists and environmental groups on the subject of ocean acidification.

That’s the term used to describe the changing chemistry of the ocean due to increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Shell-forming species such as clams, oysters and scallops appear to be most at risk from ocean acidification, which has increased nearly 30 percent.

But lobstermen are also worried about long-term effects on their livelihoods. At a day-long meeting in Augusta Thursday, panelists suggested that more research and monitoring is needed in the Gulf of Maine.

“There’s instruments that exist right now, and as a couple of people mentioned today, more, better instruments that should be cheaper are coming on line, so we really need the funding and the priority to get those out on the buoys in the Gulf of Maine,” said Heather Deese, of the Island Institute. “And you can do monitoring in the rivers and in the watersheds, and our friends groups along the coast, or at the aquaculture facilities – we just need to get more of those instruments out there to understand the problem right now.”

The Island Institute is also among the supporters of a bill that would establish a commission to study the effects of ocean acidification and its potential effects on commercial shellfish harvested and grown along the Maine coast.

Susan Sharon, The Maine Public Broadcasting Network, 16 January 2014. Article.


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