An essay in this edition explores examples of transformation occurring in Oregon as marine fishery managers, the fishing industry, and coastal communities work together to learn more about how ocean change is impacting Oregon now and how to prepare for more change in the future. Critical actions outlined in Oregon’s OAH Plan are being implemented in a variety of ways and by many partners, leveraging the collaborations already in place to make additional progress.
“Lessons learned and partnerships forged at a state level have strengthened regional alignment and international vision for action,” said Dr. Caren Braby, Marine Resources Program Manager.
Oregon is an epicenter for ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH) and was one of the first locations in the world to experience direct impacts of ocean change to its oyster hatcheries and crab fishing grounds. The essay presents action case studies that demonstrate successful work in Oregon that may be models for others wanting to get involved in ocean change.
Through the recent passage of House Bill 3114, Oregon can continue to be a leader in building awareness of adaptation to changing ocean conditions. The bill provides $1.9 million to continue funding important research and monitoring along the Oregon coast and estuaries, develop best management practices, and conduct outreach and education.
Impacts of climate change and increasing OAH pose significant risk to states, communities and economies that enjoy and depend on thriving fisheries and shellfish production related to commercial, subsistence or cultural practices. Although the issue consolidates current and emerging U.S. state policy directives and practices, local and international actors may benefit from lessons learned and case studies presented—further advancing regional and national efforts to address climate and ocean change.
Ocean acidification is caused when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere enters the ocean and chemically reacts with ocean water, making the ocean more acidic (lowering the pH). Hypoxia (low oxygen) occurs when deep ocean waters with less oxygen rise and are pushed closer to the shore by northerly winds, and then near-bottom waters are robbed of oxygen by decaying organic matter. This happens more frequently than normal due to climate changes that heat the land and ocean waters and change normal wind patterns.