Conference: Ocean Acidification and Southern New England

Monday, October 20, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Waypoint Event Center, Fairfield Inn & Suites,
185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, Massachusetts 02740

oyster farming

oyster farming


Fossil fuel emissions pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day. One quarter of these emissions are absorbed by the ocean causing it to acidify, which could have profound and irreversible effects. Shellfish growers in the Pacific Northwest have already been impacted through declining oyster harvests linked directly with ocean acidification. Fisherman and aquaculturists around the globe are asking, “Who’s next?”

The Ocean Acidification and Southern New England Conference jumpstarted the search for solutions for our region by bringing together coastal resource users, planners, ocean acidification experts, stakeholders and other concerned citizens. The goal of the conference was to find common ground among these groups concerning the risks to our region from ocean acidification.

 


The Regional Threat of Ocean Acidification

A companion conference last fall in Hyannis examined the immediate regional climate change threats of sea level rise and increasing storminess. A lack of time prevented examination of the other, lesser known climate change threat of Ocean Acidification which will have a direct bearing on the regional maritime economy and livelihoods of shell and fin-fishing.

Fossil fuel emissions pump more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere every day. One quarter of these emissions are absorbed by the ocean causing it to acidify, which could have profound and irreversible effects. Shellfish growers in the Pacific Northwest have already been impacted through declining oyster harvests linked directly with ocean acidification. Fishermen and aquaculturists across the globe are asking, “Who’s next?”

The Ocean Acidification and Southern New England Conference will jump start the search for solutions for our region by bringing together coastal resource users, planners, ocean acidification experts, stakeholders and other concerned citizens. The goal of the conference is to find common ground among these groups concerning the risks to our region from ocean acidification. The conference will begin with a discussion on what is known about ocean acidification. Dialogue will follow that explores regional stakeholders’ concerns regarding aquaculture, shellfish and fishing industries. The conference will conclude with examining the regional options to offset the effects of ocean acidification through research, policy, and legislation.

We need to agree on a route forward to protect and prepare the region for possible impacts, and to increase understanding of the need to greatly reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Presentations made at the conference are available below by selecting the presentation title.

Welcome

  • Dr. Richard Houghton, Director, Woods Hole Research Center
  • Mr. Jon Mitchell, Mayor of New Bedford

Ocean Acidification Science: What do we know & where are we headed?

Stakeholders Panel: Ocean Acidification Effects on Regional Resources & Communities

  • Dr. Dale Leavitt, Roger Williams Univ., & Dr. Bob Rheault, East Coast Shellfish Growers Assoc., Session Organizers
  • Dr. Bob Rheault, ECSGA “Questioning How Acidification Will Impact Shellfish
  • Dave Casoni, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Assoc.
  • Ms. Sarah Schumann, Rhode Island shellfisherman and advocate
  • Mr. Scott Lang, Frmr. Mayor of New Bedford, Ctr. for Sustainable Fisheries
  • Ms. Deirdre Boelke, New England Fishery Management Council
  • Mitigation & Policy Options for Ocean Acidification

Mitigation & Policy Options for Ocean Acidification

Breakout Groups

  • 1. Carolina Bastidas (MIT Sea Grant) with Heather Goldstone, WCAI/NPR
  • 2. Ed DeWitt, (Dir., APCC) with Alexander Nassikas (WHRC)
  • 3. Mark Rasmussen (Dir., Buzzards Bay Coalition) with Dr. Rachel Jakuba (Sci. Dir., Buzzards Bay Coalition).

Additional Information

  • For relevant papers and reports on ocean acidification, visit the Research Center’s collection of documents on Google Docs.
  • Participant list (PDF format)

This conference was sponsored by: The Woods Hole Research Center, the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the UMass- Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Ocean Conservancy, the Horizon Foundation, the Davis Conservation Foundation, the QLF-Sounds Conservancy & the Cape Cod Five Foundation.