California Approves Ocean Acidification Action Plan

An action plan approved in late October by the California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) lays out steps to reduce effects of ocean acidification and boost the resilience of coastal industries and communities.

The concern is that acidification is making it difficult for zooplankton, oysters, crabs and other animals at the base of the food web to build and maintain their shells. This could have negative impact on the productivity of California’s coastal and marine ecosystems and the communities and industries dependent on them.

“With so many livelihoods at stake, inaction is no longer an option,” stated California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, who chairs the OPC.

California’s joint efforts to deal with acidification began following a widespread oyster die-offs in the Pacific Northwest from 2006 to 2009. The state is a founding member of the 74-member strong International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification. The council’s action plan identifies six key strategies and outlines five-year goals and actions for each including reduction of pollution causing ocean acidification and deploying living systems to store carbon and slow acidification.

The plan calls for a comprehensive assessment to identify current and future risks to valuable fisheries like Dungeness crab and salmon, as well as the California’s ocean-dependent tourism industry.

Over the course of the year, the council will share the plan across the state and at international forums, then use it as a roadmap to make investments and decisions that advance its efforts to combat ocean acidification.
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