The B.C. Scallop Farmer’s Acid Test – The Tyee

More on the emerging ocean acidification issues of aquaculture. 

Rob Saunders points a flashlight into the depths of an immense plastic tank at his hatchery, illuminating millions of scallop larvae as tiny as dust particles. “Think of these as canaries in a coal mine,” says the marine biologist turned embattled shellfish farming CEO. It is here at Island Scallops’ facility in Qualicum Beach, located just inland from British Columbia’s shellfish farming epicentre of Baynes Sound, that ocean acidification wreaked havoc. Beginning in 2011, the company’s scallop brood stock (adult shellfish bred over 25 years to be disease-resistant and exceptionally meaty), began to die. Christopher Pollon reports. (The Tyee)

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/11/19/climate-change-scallops_n_8597502.html

National ocean acidification study finds Northwest among hardest-hit regions- KPLU

More news on the Ocean Acidification front, which is right here. The race to save our shellfish industry is on. International action is needed but there is no political will to fight it at that level. The changes needed for the US, China and India are so immense, that only a massive shift to electric vehicles along with solar and wind replacing coal will likely help. China continues to built coal plants like there is no tomorrow, and frankly, they may be right!

The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report today that won’t come as a surprise to Northwest shellfish growers. Ocean acidification–a chemical imbalance in the water caused by carbon dioxide emissions–is hitting the Northwest harder than other parts of the country. Authors of the report, “Vulnerability and adaptation of US shellfisheries to ocean acidification,” ranked Oregon and Washington high among regions expected to be rocked by the ocean’s changing chemistry, but not only because of our water conditions. They picked us because many Northwesterners make their living off shellfish – a species that’s particularly vulnerable to acidification. Kelly House reports. (Oregonian)

http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/02/national_ocean_acidification_s.html

See also: Acidifying Waters Are Endangering Your Oysters And Mussels http://kplu.org/post/acidifying-waters-are-endangering-your-oysters-and-mussels Christopher Joyce reports. (KPLU)

UW-made tool displays West Coast ocean acidification data – UW Today

Science research adds another real time diagnostic tool to help monitor the ocean acidic levels.

Increasing carbon dioxide in the air penetrates into the ocean and makes it more acidic, while robbing seawater of minerals that give shellfish their crunch. The West Coast is one of the first marine ecosystems to feel the effects.

A new tool doesn’t alter that reality, but it does allow scientists to better understand what’s happening and provide data to help the shellfish industry adapt to these changes.

http://www.washington.edu/news/2014/11/21/uw-made-tool-displays-west-coast-ocean-acidification-data/

Head of State Ecology Answers Prof. Cliff Mass on Ocean Acidification

As reported here in the last few weeks, UW Meteorologist Cliff Mass posted in his blog that recent court filings by the US EPA and State Department of Ecology were evidence that neither really thought that Ocean Acidification was a scientifically proven threat to the Salish Sea and our seafood industries. My criticism here on this blog was then used by him as a place to accuse me of personally attacking him for his views. (see comments in previous articles last week). This week, State Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon stepped into the fray, publishing a scathing blog entry directly addressing his comments. I quote:

Department of Ecology take threats from ocean acidification very seriously. This is not a surprise to many, given our policy and science leadership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to understand and address ocean acidification. But local meteorologist Cliff Mass’s September 7 blog is causing some people to question just what our position is, and whether ocean acidification is real.

Let’s be clear. Ocean acidification is real. Determining the causes, impacts, and identifying potential solutions are high priorities for our agency and our state…

….Cliff Mass quoted a few sentences from legal documents that misled several blog readers to believe that Ecology and EPA have determined that acidification is not damaging oysters in Puget Sound or other local waters. He misinterpreted documents filed under litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

http://coenv.washington.edu/research/major-initiatives/ocean-acidification/oa-in-washingtons-waters-in-the-context-of-marine-water-quality/.

It is gratifying to say the least to see our top bureaucrat in charge of addressing this issue come forward and clearly lay out the issue to any reader in the State. Professor Mass has not yet chosen to respond to this blog post by Ms. Bellon.

Those of us who are involved in educating the public to serious (and sometimes difficult to comprehend) issues like ocean acidification are grateful to Ms. Bellon for stepping up and using her bully pulpit to call out the serious and urgent need for continued scientific work to figure out a solution to this issue, if a solution does in fact exist. There is far too much at stake to sit back and allow critics to derail these efforts without  answering them. It’s what true leadership is all about.

Cantwell Calls for NOAA Study on Ocean Acidification’s Effects on Seafood and Fishing

In Senate hearing Cantwell also backs ‘robust funding’ in Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization for fish stock assessments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) called for new federal action to examine ocean acidification’s potential threat to seafood and the commercial fishing during a hearing on the law that guides management of American commercial fisheries.

During testimony at the Senate hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Reauthorization, the Alaska Regional Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service told Cantwell that ocean acidification is a “cause for concern.”

Cantwell highlighted the need for a study that identifies which fisheries and fish habitats are most at risk from the effects of ocean acidification –as an expansion of a Puget Sound monitoring system for shellfish that she was instrumental in establishing in 2010.  She cited previous research that showed adverse effects on Alaska’s red king crab fisheries.

Such research also would be critical to understanding potential impacts to Washington state’s $30 billion maritime industry.  The sector supports 57,000 direct jobs and 90,000 indirect jobs, 60 percent of which are in the fishing industry.

“We want to make sure we understand the risks to our fisheries. We have some real life situations that are occurring,” Cantwell said today during the hearing of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. “On this issue, I think we definitely need a study to understand the impacts.”

 Read the rest of the story here:

http://www.cantwell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=c0bd9f45-b98f-4932-adc4-ff928c337c2e

2013 NW Straits: Alexis Valauir -Ocean Acidification Effects on Global Communities

From the 2013 NW Straits Annual Conference, a most interesting talk:

Alexis Valauri-Orton recently completed a year-long Watson Fellowship investigating human narratives of ocean acidification in Norway, Hong Kong, Thailand, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Peru. Over the year, she traded her lab coat for a pair of gum boots, experiencing firsthand the role marine resources play in coastal communities. Investigating narratives of acidification in such diverse communities, she discovered the importance of understanding and navigating the social structures that shape our vulnerabilities and responses to environmental issues. She holds a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Davidson College, in North Carolina, and now lives in her hometown of Seattle. She believes increasing scientific literacy and public awareness on issues like ocean acidification is the key to creating a sustainable future.

The Powerpoints of her talk are found at the NW Straits web site:

http://www.nwstraits.org/Whats-New/Meetings-Events/2013-MRC-Conference.aspx

or directly here (This downloads the presentation to your computer)

http://www.nwstraits.org/uploads/pdf/Meeting%20and%20Events/Conference/2013/Valauri-Orton-OA.pdf

You can download this for use on a device like an ipod or iphone, or just listen to it right here on your computer.

 

 

Report from the Climate Change Front – State Senator Kevin Ranker at the NW Straits Conference

Washington State is in the forefront of the impacts of climate change around the world. In addition to actually feeling the effects, in alarming problems emerging in our waters that are impacting shellfish, we have a state legislature and governor that have demanded and funded serious scientific study along with  a feedback loop to the lawmakers from the Governor’s directives, as well as State law.

It is difficult to collate all the scientific efforts of this funding into a neat package, but once or twice a year, we get a window into that work. The Northwest Straits Initiative, which for over 15 years has brought together scientists, business interests, tribes  and volunteer citizens, holds their annual conference.  These people belong to the Marine Resource Committees  (MRCs) of seven counties, from Snohomish to the Canadian border, and west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca (along with non-NW Straits Initiative managed counties along the Coast). The MRC  representatives  come together to share the stories of their work, and hear a unified program of science efforts that support or influence that work.

This year, the conference attendees, were treated to an update on many of the various climate change issues that they face. As part of our coverage of this important conference, and because the NW Straits does not have the financial capabilities to hold a large public forum, we  at the Olympic Peninsula Environmental News present a series of presentations to you over the next few weeks, to allow the general public to hear what was told to the attendees. Given that the attendees are mainly volunteers (there are a few part time staff members in each jurisdiction to help in project management and grant writing), and come forward from the local communities, for those who are interested in volunteering, or cannot afford the time and money to attend the conference, we will post audio of all the presentations we were able to cover, which was all but two, and in addition, as time allows, we will also post the powerpoint presentations of those speakers who used it.

Washington State Senator Kevin leads off the presentations. Hailing from  San Juan County,  Senator Ranker has been instrumental in providing support with funding and legislation to scientific research and policy guidance on ocean acidification (OA). OA research is a critical to fund, as the effects of the increased acidification, in even small degrees, appears to have serious outcomes on shellfish, which provides over $270 million dollars a year (2010 number), and over 3200 direct jobs, most of them in rural and lower income communities around the Sea.  These jobs also support the wider communities they live in with indirect jobs, in supporting industries.

Senator Ranker’s presentation can be found at the following link. You can listen to it right here, or download it for later listening on any MP3 player, or your tablet or PC. The presentation is 38 minutes long, and Senator Ranker’s slides will likely be available later. It is our opinion that not immediately having his slides will not detract from his message. The Senator is a very humorous and off the cuff speaker.

If you wish to attend any of the monthly MRC meetings in your area, check their local web sites. All meetings are open to the public and are advertised in advance. You can also support the work of the NW Straits Initiative, by donating to the NW Straits Foundation. Their web site is http://www.nwstraits.org and http://www.nwstraits.org/Foundation/About.aspx.

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