Learning to play well with others: a proposed international solution to mitigate ocean acidification

While ocean acidification is a major crisis affecting the shellfish industry and local economies in the United States, it is an international issue and should be handled as such. Countries throughout the world are attempting to face the impacts of ocean acidification independently. For example, rising acidity levels are causing the exterior of shellfish to deteriorate in the Pacific Northwest and coral composition to weaken in Australia. Although the cause of these various, widespread issues is the ocean’s altering composition, the methods to mitigate the negative results are not treated in a comprehensive manner. Rather, these international ocean acidification implications are approached from an individualistic perspective.

This article will be broken up into four sections. First, this article will explain the background issue of ocean acidification and its potential negative environmental, economic, and social impacts. Second, current legislative and judicial developments in the United States addressing ocean acidification will be discussed. Third, an international section will address solutions employed in other countries facing effects from ocean acidification, as well as potential international solutions attempted or proposed. Finally, this article will conclude with suggestions for future change and potential solutions to face this international crisis, including legislative and scientific reform to mitigate or adapt to impacts of ocean acidification.

Ultimately, this article argues that a comprehensive international approach to ocean acidification is not only encouraged, but necessary, as this is an inherently international environmental crisis. As a specific proposal, this article posits the formation of an international panel of five countries, potentially including those with booming economies, high rates of pollution, dependence on aquaculture, and environmentalist tendencies. This proposal will be further discussed at the conclusion of this article


Pettit E. A., 2018. Learning to play well with others: a proposed international solution to mitigate ocean acidification. Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal 9(1): 69-105. Article (subscription required).

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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