Washington state and ocean conservancy join Chile in a pre-COP25 ocean acidification knowledge exchange

Santiago, Chile – Delegations from Washington state and Ocean Conservancy are meeting with local shellfish growers, scientists and Chilean government ministers as part of an official pre-COP25 event to discuss the threat of ocean acidification and plan responses for their communities and businesses. The discussion and visits to local shellfish growers and government ministries organized by Ocean Conservancy will provide an opportunity for an exchange of knowledge between growers, scientists, and government officials from Chile on ocean acidification and its impacts.

Shellfish growers from Washington state to Chile feel the harmful impacts of ocean acidification. Acidification hinders the health and growth of shellfish, corals and some fish species. Ocean acidification is a change in seawater chemistry caused by the ocean absorbing carbon emissions, turning it more acidic. Coastal runoff and waste can also increase acidification in coastal waters. This knowledge exchange will provide a space to share experiences and knowledge so that we may collectively address the harmful impacts of ocean acidification.

Washington state enjoys a special working partnership with Chile founded around a Memorandum of Understanding between the two governments. As part of this partnership, the two parties cooperate with each other on actions around shared areas of interest including ocean acidification along with disaster risk reduction and their energy sectors and economies.


Sarah Cooley, Ocean Acidification Director, Ocean Conservancy, Washington, DC

Bill Dewey, Senior Director of Public Affairs at Taylor Shellfish Farms

Jennifer Hennessey, Senior Policy Advisor on Ocean Health, Governor Inslee’s Office, Washington state

Ambassador Rodrigo Olsen, Director for the Environment and Oceanic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and COP25 Chief Negotiator

WHEN: September 30 – October 3, 2019

WHERE: Valparaiso, Puerto Montt, Santiago, Chile.

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: The knowledge exchange participants listed above are available for interviews to speak to the following:

The impacts that climate change and ocean acidification are having on coastal communities, cultures and livelihoods.
Their experiences and adaptation strategies as they deal with changes in the ocean’s chemistry along with other environmental changes.
The latest science on the changing chemistry of the ocean.
Reporters interested in conducting in-person or phone interviews with Sarah Cooley or Bill Dewey should contact Ocean Conservancy, contact information listed above.

Reporters interested in conducting in-person or phone interviews with Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state should contact the Washington State governor’s office, contact information listed above.


“The shellfish industry is incredibly resourceful and have been deeply involved in finding solutions to the effects of ocean acidification,” said Sarah Cooley, Director of Ocean Acidification for Ocean Conservancy, “This exchange allows shellfish growers and scientists from the US and Chile the opportunity to help each other understand and respond to ocean acidification. It’s vitally important that the communities impacted by ocean acidification have the chance to meet in person and learn from each other.”

“Up and down the coast of Washington state, ocean acidification has damaged shellfish aquaculture production. This is especially detrimental, as Washington state leads the nation in oyster production, with some of finest oysters in the world growing in our waters,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Water knows no borders, and it will take the collective work of governments regionally, nationally, and internationally to mitigate the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.”

“Ocean acidification is a threat that not only those of us in the Pacific Northwest face, but shellfish growers all over the world face,” said Bill Dewey, Senior Director of Public Affairs at Taylor Shellfish Farms, “I am excited for the opportunity to learn from my colleagues in Chile and share experiences about the impacts of ocean acidification. Chile is a world leader on ocean issues and it’s crucial that we all work together to protect our ocean and livelihoods.”

“I’m proud that this week Chile held an important knowledge exchange of the effects of acidification on marine resources and seafood industry,” said Ambassador Rodrigo Olsen, Director for the Environment and Oceanic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and COP25 Chief Negotiator, “Since we are hosting the ‘Blue COP’ in December, we also want to highlight the problems of carbon dioxide in our ocean. Acidification of our marine environment is a critical issue, and we need to prepare for it.”

Cody Sullivan, Ocean Conservancy, 3 October 2019. Article.

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