Monday, March 11, 2013

Ocean acidification seminar set for Anacortes March 13

By Sandy Howard

Skagit County residents wanting to learn more about ocean acidification are invited to a free seminar from 6 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, March 13, in the Seafarers’ Memorial Park Building, 100 Commercial Ave. in Anacortes.

Ocean acidification results from CO2 emissions being absorbed from the atmosphere into seawater, forming carbonic acid. This alters ocean chemistry and endangers sea life. Between 2005 and 2009, up to 80 percent of the oyster larvae in in some Washington hatcheries were killed by acidification before the problem was identified and temporary counter-measures were taken. As the nation’s leading supplier of shellfish and with the seafood industry one of the state’s major employers, Washington has much to lose from the effects of continued high CO2 emissions.

The seminar, hosted by the Skagit County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) features:
  • Brady Olson, a Western Washington University marine biologist at Shannon Point Marine Center, speaking on “What is Ocean Acidification?”

  • Bill Dewey, communications and public policy director for Taylor Shellfish Farms, the largest farmed shellfish producer in North America, will address “How Are Shellfish Coping?” Dewey was a member of the Washington state panel on Ocean Acidification.

  • Brad Warren, also a member of the panel and director for the Global Ocean Health Program of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and National Fisheries Conservation Center, will review the panel’s work and present “Recommendations, Partnerships and Actions.”

Tom Wooten, Samish Indian Nation Tribal Chairman and Skagit County MRC member and Director of Natural Resources for the Samish Christine Woodward state, “Those of us who live by the Salish Sea must be especially vigilant as our waters are particularly vulnerable to acidification. We need to educate ourselves and our communities about the problem and then move from knowledge to action. By working together, we can reduce the effects of acidification through such means as controlling all potential pollution sources of our sacred air, water and land.”

To address the threat of increasingly corrosive marine waters, former Gov. Christine Gregoire appointed the 28-member Washington State Panel on Ocean Acidification in February 2012. It was co-chaired by Bill Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Jay Manning, former director of the Washington Department of Ecology. The panel presented its findings and 42 recommendations November 27 in Seattle. Learn more about ocean acidification in Washington State.

In addition to the Skagit County MRC, the event is sponsored by the Northwest Straits Commission, Puget Sound Partnership, Port of Anacortes, National Fisheries Conservation Center and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

If you have questions, contact Tracy Alker,, 360-336-9400.

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