Ocean acidification bill advances in legislature
A proposal to address how changing ocean chemistry can damage Maine’s coast, shellfish industry and jobs won unanimous support from the Marine Resources Committee on Monday.
LD 1602, a measure sponsored by Rep. Mick Devin, D-Newcastle, would establish a commission to look at the effects of ocean acidification and its potential effects on commercial shellfish harvested along the Maine coast.
“Maine’s history and way of life are tied to our coast,” said Devin, a marine biologist. “If the health of our ocean waters is at risk, so are thousands of jobs, the seafood and tourist industries and the seafood we eat.”
The commission would be tasked with recommending policies and steps to respond to the adverse effects of ocean acidification on commercially important shellfish fisheries and Maine’s shellfish aquaculture industry.
“Ocean acidification is a reality we ignore at our peril,” said Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville, the Senate chairman of the committee. “By studying how ocean acidification is impacting and will impact our coastal and marine resources, we will be able to identify strategies to reduce the negative effects of ocean acidification.”
Ocean acidification results from the increased absorption of carbon dioxide emissions. It causes the formation of carbonic acid, which dissolves the shells of shellfish.
“I am happy to see recognition of ocean acidification as an issue that needs further study and potential action,” said Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle, House chairman of the committee.
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