MIAMI BEACH, FLA — Today the United States Conference of Mayors approved a resolution on ocean acidification, citing the need for more research and coordination in addressing an ever-increasing threat to coastal communities. The resolution was introduced by Mayor Jon Mitchell of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
“I’m pleased to support the resolution approved today by the Conference’s Energy Committee and the Ocean Conservancy’s many efforts to highlight the threat posed by ocean acidification,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Energy Committee. “As Mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts, the top fishing port in the nation for the past 17 years, I understand well the threat to our fisheries and to those who rely on those fisheries to earn a living. And I’m proud to join the many other mayors across the nation who are leading on this issue.”
The resolution states that “cities are at the forefront of preparing for, mitigating against, and responding to the consequences of changes in ocean chemistry like ocean acidification.” It encourages efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the root cause of ocean acidification, and calls on Congress to fund research assessing the vulnerability of coastal communities to its impacts.
Ocean acidification hurts the fish, shellfish, and corals that anchor the fishing and tourism industries in states as varied as Massachusetts and Florida, threatening the economy of coastal communities and businesses. The ocean absorbs about 25 percent of carbon dioxide pollution – as a result the chemistry of the ocean is changing rapidly.
About 40 percent of the U.S. population now lives in coastal counties, and that number is growing fast. The mayor’s resolution states that leaders need better information on the threat of ocean acidification to plan for and minimize the potential harm to vulnerable communities, local businesses, and economies.
“Ocean Conservancy applauds the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ resolution to confront the threat of ocean acidification,” said Sarah Cooley, director of the Ocean Acidification Program at Ocean Conservancy. “Mayors across the country know that our ocean and the coastal cities that depend on it are an economic powerhouse. Their leadership is critically important to protect shellfish growers, fishermen, tourism operators, and others who are at risk from ocean acidification. Today’s resolution will help create the strong partnerships among governments, coastal communities, and scientists needed to tackle ocean acidification and safeguard our marine resources and coastal communities.”
The ocean is 30% more acidic since the Industrial Revolution. The scale of the ocean acidification problem demands a collaborative response. The resolution declares that cities are ready to work with federal, state, and international governmental and non-governmental partners to share information and take measurable steps towards protecting coastal communities.
Scientists are studying the phenomenon, but lack sufficient funding to adequately understand it. Congress has introduced multiple bills dedicated to expand our knowledge of ocean acidification and the threats it poses to marine life and coastal communities. States are starting to act, too, by establishing study commissions that often develop locally tailored steps to monitor ocean acidification and improve local water quality.
Ocean Conservancy is working with you to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit for www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.