By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,632)
The ocean acidification (“OA”) of Maine’s coastal waters is a serious problem and steps need to be taken to address it before there are fewer shell-fish to be harvested for human consumption – causing financial hardships for those in the shell fish industry.
That was the agenda of a symposium today in which scientists from agencies up and down the Maine coast presented their latest scientific findings on OA – a field of research in which Maine is a leader, second only to the State of Washington.
By way of background, two years ago the Maine State legislature established a Commission to study OA and report its recommendations back to the legislature. It did so in January of 2015. Last year, the Commission concluded because of a lack of funding to continue it. The State took no action on the Commission’s recommendations.
But OA did not go away with the Commission. Rather, four leaders called the first meeting of the Maine Ocean and Coastal Acidification in March of this year. MOCA was formed. That formation led to todays 8 am – 5 pm symposium at Hannaford Hall on the campus of USM, Portland.
“It’s cool to see this number of people together working on OA. Ten years ago we would not have had this level of interest. It’s really happening. The ugly older brother of CO2 driven climate change. The ocean is very buffered by its chemical constituents. That means that the PH change of the ocean is slow, but like the Richter scale for earth quakes the PH is going to drop from 8.1 to 7/8 – a big increase in acidity.” said William (Barney) Baich. (See above photo.)
In 2008-2009 the oyster industry on the coasts of Washington and Oregon suffered a mass die off making them almost extinct according to Julia Sanders, of Global Ocean Health, Seattle. Scientists and others got together to successfully improve the situation Sanders said at the Symposium earlier today.
“This is an invitation in order to inform the public about OA. It is a volunteer effort to move it forward,” said Aaron Strong, Marine Policy at the University of Maine and one of the four founders of MOCA. Where do we go from here?
That’s what the over 100 registered participants at the Symposium were asked to consider in the coming days. How do we get the public engaged in OA? The founders of MOCA are: Ivy Frignoca, Friends of Casco Bay; Nick Battista, of Island Institute; Aaron Strong, of University of Maine; and Esperanza Stancoiff of Sea Grant Maine.
For more information on MOCA, please contact Mary Cerullo, Friends of Casco Bay, at firstname.lastname@example.org