Changing ocean conditions: new council to mitigate effects

Ocean Changes

Jeremy C. Ruark / The News Guard

Oregon’s new Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) will host its first meeting from 10 3 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 25, at the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Guin Library, 2030 Marine Science Drive in Newport. 

A full agenda for the meeting and supporting materials are available online at

Oregon lawmakers created the OAH Council through the passage of Senate Bill 1039 last year to look for ways to better understand, adapt to and mitigate the effects of changing ocean conditions. The state has already seen the effects of ocean acidification on its prized shellfish industry after annual die-offs of juvenile oysters at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery started in 2007. Oregon has also seen the effects of intensifying hypoxia events, which have been implicated in die-offs of crabs and other marine life over the past two decades.

 “Ocean acidification already has affected Oregon’s shellfish mariculture industry, and we know it is worsening,” State Senator Arnie Roblan said. “It’s time to start finding ways to adapt to these new conditions and mitigate them, while we still have time. Our children and businesses depend on it.”

The meeting agenda includes opening remarks from Governor Brown’s Representative and carbon policy advisor Dr. Kristen Sheeran, an analysis of SB 1039, and presentations on recent science and policy developments from Council members including Co-Chairs Dr. Caren Braby (ODFW) and Dr. Jack Barth (Executive Director of Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative). Following the meeting, from 3:30 to 4:30, the Hatfield Marine Science Center is hosting a seminar with brief presentations by Council members and discussion with the audience.

The public is welcome at the meeting. Attend in person, or by WebEx (use phone number 415-655-0002).

Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean and fuels ocean acidification.

“Ocean acidification is a global problem that is having a disproportionate impact on productive West Coast ecosystems,” Oregon State University’s Dr. Francis Chan said. “These changing ocean conditions threaten Oregon’s productive wild ocean fisheries, rich coastal traditions and renowned healthy ecosystem.”

Oregon has been an international leader in policy development related to ocean acidification by promoting and facilitating regional and global coalition-building to develop solutions and mitigate carbon dioxide through international climate agreements. Governor Kate Brown has asked the new OAH Council to build Oregon’s Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Action Plan, as part of Oregon’s ongoing demonstration of leadership.

In addition to the co-chairs from ODFW and Oregon State University, the Council includes representatives from the Oregon Governor’s office, Oregon Tribes, Oregon DEQ, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Department of Land Conservation and Development, Ocean Science Trust, Oregon Sea Grant and representatives from the fishing, shellfish and research communities. The OAH Council will make its first report to the Legislature by September 2018.

Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, The News Guard, 24 January 2018. Article.

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