Legislative commission recommends steps to stem ocean acidification

AUGUSTA — Maine would pursue a broad strategy to combat ocean acidification — including more monitoring of marine ecosystems, reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and harmful runoff, mitigation efforts for local areas and increased public awareness — under recommendations approved by a special legislative commission last week.

The vote of the Commission to Study the Effects of Coastal and Ocean Acidification on Commercially Harvested and Grown Species, established by the Maine Legislature last April 30, was unanimous.

“We know that ocean acidification is a real threat to Maine’s marine environment and the thousands of jobs that rely on its health. Maine has too much at stake to simply wait on others to come up with a global solution,” Rep. Michael Devin, co-chairman of the commission, said in a statement announcing the commission’s actions. “We must take steps at the state and local levels to protect our marine resources and our coastal economy.”

Devin sponsored the legislation that created the commission.

Specific recommendations include the development of tools to detect the onset of acidification, creation of public-private partnerships to collect data on nutrient loading to coastal waters, enhancement of marine vegetation in bivalve shellfish areas, the use of pulverized shells to remediate acidification on mudflats, and increasing the capacity of aquaculture hatcheries to serve as refuges for larvae that are particularly sensitive to ocean acidification.

The recommendations will go into a report that will be submitted to the Legislature.

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