ADAPTATION STRATEGIES

Building knowledge about how to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification (OA) and effectively conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs is a focus of the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP). In the Pacific Northwest, NOAA, university, and shellfish industry scientists have formed a strong partnership to adapt to ocean acidification impacts that have already affected the shellfish industry. Together these researchers determined that acidification was threatening oyster production and offered an approach to address it. They installed equipment to monitor carbon chemistry at shellfish hatcheries and worked with hatchery managers to develop practices that protect developing oyster larvae from exposure to  low pH waters. Complementing coastal monitoring, real-time data from off-shore buoys now act as an early warning system for shellfish hatcheries, signaling the approach of cold, more acidic seawater a day or two before it arrives in the sensitive coastal waters where young oyster larvae are produced. The data have enabled hatchery managers to schedule production when water quality is good and avoid wasting valuable energy and other resources when water quality is poor. Other adaptation approaches taken by hatcheries have included adding soda ash to low pH waters to raise it to levels shellfish can tolerate.

Text Box: Oyster Farm, Washington State, Photo courtesy of Taylor Shellfish Farms

Carbon chemistry monitoring and the practices developed to react to poor water chemistry conditions have helped the shellfish industry boost production. 2010 was the best production year since 1989 for the Taylor Shellfish Puget Sound hatchery. The Whiskey Creek hatchery in Oregon has also enjoyed rising productivity: in 2008, productivity was 20% of normal production and in 2010, it was 70% of normal production. Unfortunately, a similar adaptation strategy is not feasible for the natural environment. For instance, wild oyster seed in Netarts Bay, OR had not been part of commercial production since 2005. Though, the first natural set of wild oyster seed in seven years was recorded this year.

 

 

 

STORIES OF ADAPTATION

Ocean forecast offers seasonal outlook for Pacific Northwest waters

Ocean forecast offers seasonal outlook for Pacific Northwest waters

University of Washington

By now we are used to the idea of seasonal weather forecasts - whether to expect an El Niño ski season, or an unusually warm summer. These same types of climate models are now being adapted to make seasonal forecasts for the region's coastal waters.
Friday, June 24, 2016
NOAA Funds Seven New Projects to Increase Understanding and Response to Climate Impacts on U.S. Fisheries

NOAA Funds Seven New Projects to Increase Understanding and Response to Climate Impacts on U.S. Fisheries

NOAA

NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology has teamed up with the NOAA Research Climate Program Office to study the impacts of a changing climate on the fish and fisheries of the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem. Together, these offices are providing $5.0 million in grant funding over the next three years to support seven new projects.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015
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Northwest Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived

Northwest Oyster Die-offs Show Ocean Acidification Has Arrived

Elizabeth Grossman

Standing on the shores of Netarts Bay in Oregon on a sunny fall morning, it’s hard to imagine that the fate of the oysters being raised here at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery is being determined by what came out of smokestacks and tailpipes in the 1960s and ‘70s. But this rural coastal spot and the shellfish it has nurtured for centuries are a bellwether of one of the most palpable changes being caused by global carbon dioxide emissions —ocean acidification.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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Scientists Find Rising Carbon Dioxide and ‘Acidified’ Waters in Puget Sound

NOAA

Scientists have discovered that the water chemistry in the Hood Canal and the Puget Sound main basin is becoming more “acidified,” or corrosive, as the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These changes could have considerable impacts on the region’s shellfish industry over the next several decades.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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Pacific Oysters Gain from Ocean Acidification Data

Pacific Oysters Gain from Ocean Acidification Data

NOAA

About six years ago, production at some Pacific Northwest oyster hatcheries began declining at an alarming rate, posing severe economic impact and challenging a way of life held by shellfish growers for more than 130 years.

By 2008, the oyster harvest at Whiskey Creek, a major Oregon supplier to the majority of West Coast oyster farmers, plummeted 80 percent. At about the same time, corrosive, acidified seawater was hitting the shores of the Pacific. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
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