Peninsula Daily News
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ABERDEEN — The Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council will discuss ocean acidification at a public meeting Wednesday, Oct. 10.
The meeting will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Port of Grays Harbor commissioners’ meeting room, 111 S. Wooding St., Aberdeen.
The public is invited to participate in a discussion about the status and funding of ocean-use planning projects and ocean acidification.
Planning ocean uses, called marine spatial planning, is an approach adopted by the 2010 state Legislature, the state Department of Ecology said in a statement.
“It is intended to help reduce conflicts among ocean uses such as maritime shipping, economic development, fishing, aquaculture and recreation, and balance the benefits humans receive from the ocean while decreasing human-caused environmental damage,” Ecology said.
The planning process will involve public outreach to people involved in the state’s fishing and shellfish industries, as well as maritime shipping, recreation, ports and local communities along the coast, Ecology said.
Ocean acidification occurs as oceans accumulate carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, from polluted runoff and from other sources.
When saltwater becomes acidic, it harms the shell-making ability of oysters, clams, scallops and mussels. It poses a threat to other marine life as well.
Washington state leads the nation in producing farmed clams, oysters and mussels, valued at more than $270 million a year.
In March 2012, Gov. Chris Gregoire convened a Blue Ribbon Panel to recommend actions for responding to increasing ocean acidification.
Ecology formed the advisory council in 2011 to advise the State Ocean Caucus, a team made up of state agencies with a management role or expertise in ocean and coastal issues.
The council coordinates with federal and state agencies as well as local and tribal governments.
The unpaid group meets about four times a year.