Virtual dialogue addresses ocean acidification

Representatives from various Pacific Islands including Samoa partook in a dialogue on Ocean Acidification (O.A.) monitoring. (Photo: Vaitogi A. Matafeo)

Representatives from various Pacific Islands including Samoa participated recently in a dialogue on ocean acidification monitoring in a bid to protect the healthy state of the Pacific. 

The recent dialogue gave Pacific island countries and territories the opportunity to share lessons learned from ocean acidification monitoring, and to learn from one another as well as other experts during a Pacific Islands Ocean Acidification Monitoring Dialogue held recently.

The virtual dialogue was organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) – through the New Zealand Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification project and the Pacific Island Global Ocean Observing System (Pi-GOOS) – with the assistance of the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology.

The virtual dialogue was attended by 84 participants from Australia, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Hawaii, Kiribati, Korea, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, Samoa, Tokelau, United States of America and Vanuatu.

According to a statement from S.P.R.E.P., the ocean has absorbed approximately 30 per cent of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere which when combined with seawater produces carbonic acid, acidifying the seawater and depleting it of carbonate that many forms of sea life need to build their shells.

“CO2 is an acid gas, so the addition of CO2 to the ocean from burning fossil fuels is making seawater more acidified…this process is referred to as Ocean Acidification,” reads the statement.

Furthermore, the need for monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts on marine ecosystems has been recognised at intergovernmental levels including by the U.N. General Assembly, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

The main objectives of the virtual dialogue were to enable participants from different agencies and organisations within participating countries to convene in-country and coordinate their national ocean acidification. 

Adel Fruean, SamoaObserver, 5 July 2021. Full article.

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