December 16th, 2013
Ocean acidification is warming up policy discussions about marine resources.In fact, state agencies and legislatures in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast are considering new laws and regulations to mitigate the effects of climate change on shellfish harvesters and other marine industries.
In August, California and Oregon established the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel.This panel was tasked with developing new research and policy proposals to respond to risks from ocean acidification.Those states’ action built on a November 2012 report by the Washington State Blue Ribbon Commission on Ocean Acidification (Commission) that resulted in the creation of a new state panel in Washington to analyze policies to mitigate ocean acidification.1
On the East Coast, Maine’s State Legislature passed a joint resolution in March recognizing ocean acidification as a direct threat to Maine’s economy, particularly to clams, mussels, and lobsters. It called for “research and monitoring in order to better understand ocean acidification in the Gulf of Maine and Maine’s coastal waters, to anticipate its potential impacts on Maine’s residents, businesses, communities and marine environment and to develop ways of mitigating and adapting.” 2 A bill to fund further study of ocean acidification was submitted to the legislature in October, although it now appears this bill will be postponed until Maine’s January session.