The Blog Aquatic » shellfish http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 27 Nov 2014 11:00:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Tell the EPA You Support Cutting Carbon Emissions http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/16/tell-the-epa-you-support-cutting-carbon-emissions/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/10/16/tell-the-epa-you-support-cutting-carbon-emissions/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:50:22 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9341

This blog post was written by Benoit Eudeline, the hatchery research manager at Taylor Shellfish Farms. 

Here at the Taylor Shellfish Hatchery in Washington State, we are facing real threats to our business and our livelihood.

Ocean acidification, largely caused by carbon pollution, can damage shell-building animals, like oysters, clams and mussels. Given the changes we’re seeing in the ocean, it will be increasingly difficult for these organisms to build healthy shells, and will ultimately impact their ability to survive.

We are taking action here in Washington State, but we must do more – for everyone who relies on the ocean.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed an action that would cut power plants’ carbon emissions—emissions that are changing the very nature of our ocean. We need your help to tell the EPA that we must take these steps to cut emissions now. Fishermen, shellfish farmers, and coastal communities who depend on a healthy ocean will suffer if we don’t respond now.

We all know power plants emit large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. What most people don’t know is that around 30% of all carbon emissions are absorbed by the ocean. This makes life difficult for oysters because as the water becomes more acidic, it is deprived of the chemical building blocks that oysters and other shellfish need to grow their shells and survive.

I, along with my children, my friends and my neighbors living here in Northwest Washington State, want to continue working on the water and preserving our culture, our ocean, and our way of life for a long, long time.

Click here to tell the EPA that you support their efforts to cut carbon emissions on behalf of the ocean. 

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Video: Ocean Acidification – A Threat to Economies and Cultures Around the World http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/21/video-ocean-acidification-a-threat-to-economies-and-cultures-around-the-world/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/21/video-ocean-acidification-a-threat-to-economies-and-cultures-around-the-world/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:37:16 +0000 Alexis Valauri-Orton http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=9059

Over these past three months, my blog series has taken you around the world and into the lives of marine dependent communities at risk from ocean acidification.  Hopefully this journey did for you what it did for me: showed how ocean acidification has the power to alter whole communities, and how these communities are in dire need of research, guidance and infrastructure to prepare for the challenges ahead.

Before I leave Ocean Conservancy, I want to share one more thing.  I have prepared this video to help make the stories I’ve shared in my blog come alive.  Listen to Waiaria talk about the value of shellfish to the identity of people in New Zealand.  Watch fishermen in Peru celebrate El Dia de Pescadores. Tag along as a shellfish farmer in Thailand hand dredges the bay in the middle of the night.  See the faces and the places that continue to drive my conviction that we have more work to do.  And share them with your friends, so we can do good on what Peter, a cod-fisherman in Norway who can trace fishing back 1,000 years in his family, said to me:

“The whole world has to know. Not only in this small place, but the whole world has to know what is happening.”

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Science in the hands that need it: Turning the tide on ocean acidification in New Zealand http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/01/science-in-the-hands-that-need-it-turning-the-tide-on-ocean-acidification-in-new-zealand/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/08/01/science-in-the-hands-that-need-it-turning-the-tide-on-ocean-acidification-in-new-zealand/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:55:30 +0000 Alexis Valauri-Orton http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8906

In 2013, I worked on a shellfish boat in New Zealand.  We used hydraulic systems to lift lines of shellfish out of the water, conveyor belts to sort them, and packaged mussels by the thousands in giant, half ton sacks.  A far cry from the low-tech nighttime dredging from a longtail boat I saw in Thailand.

With this technological edge, surely New Zealand shellfish farmers are less vulnerable to ocean acidification than those in regions like Southeast Asia.

But that is not what I found.  I found shellfish farmers in New Zealand to be highly vulnerable to ocean acidification. This wasn’t because the country lacked the technology or knowledge to be resilient, but because that technology and knowledge wasn’t making it into the hands of the shellfish farmers.

The oyster farmers I lived and worked with on Stewart Island told me how the oysters they grew hadn’t reproduced properly in two years.  Was this caused by ocean acidification?  There was no way to know really, because nobody was monitoring the chemistry of the local waters, and nobody had studied how this species might respond to ocean acidification.

I spoke with one of the pioneers of the green-lipped mussel farming industry in the Marlborough Sounds.  “Have people here been talking about ocean acidification?” I asked him. “No, not at all, not at all.”

Three weeks earlier, when I attended the New Zealand Workshop on ocean acidification, there had been a lot of talk.  But the discussions at the 2013 workshop didn’t focus on the concerns of the New Zealanders most vulnerable to ocean acidification.  Only a handful of the 50+ papers presented at the meeting were about shellfish species grown in New Zealand.  This isn’t to say the research presented at the workshop wasn’t scientifically relevant or important to understanding the mechanisms of ocean acidification on a global level, It absolutely was.  But it begged the question: when you have a current crisis like ocean acidification, shouldn’t we focus some science on answering the questions of the people and communities most at risk?

That’s the conclusion I came to.  And, I’m happy to say, New Zealand has come to that conclusion, too.  In December 2013, the United States Department of State, in collaboration with Global Ocean Health, the Marine Conservation Institute, the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries and other partners, sponsored a workshop called “Future proofing New Zealand’s shellfish aquaculture: monitoring and adaptation to ocean acidification.”

The workshop brought experts from the frontlines of the oyster crisis in the Pacific Northwest to New Zealand.  For the first time, scientists and industry members were in the same room, talking about ocean acidification together.

And they have kept talking.  Since the workshop, key industry partners have stepped up to sponsor a new monitoring network that will focus on important shellfish growing regions.  The 2014 New Zealand Ocean Acidification Workshop featured sessions on managing and monitoring ocean acidification.  Industry members, who, in early 2013, had voiced doubt over the impact of ocean acidification on the shellfish industry, were suddenly giving presentations on the threat of ocean acidification to their livelihood.  The organizers of the original, December 2013, workshop just released a beautiful video highlighting the value of shellfish to New Zealand, and the threats ocean acidification poses.

So what’s the key here?  What was the turning point? It’s simple, really.  It was bringing industry, science and policy together, and uniting them with a common goal: to understand how communities and industries might be affected by ocean acidification, and to do something about it.  It happened in New Zealand and Washington, it’s happening in Maine and Maryland, and it needs to be happening everywhere.

Mussel farms fill the waters of New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds. These fine-meshed nets are designed to catch wild spat, or mussel seed, in the Marlborough Sounds.  Mussel farmers I spoke with complained of an inconsistent supply of natural spat in recent years.  New monitoring programs in the Marlborough Sounds will allow us to see the chemical conditions of these crucial spat-collection areas. A family-owned mussel boat utilizes specialized ropes and hydraulic equipment. Though these technologies save sweat and increase production yields, they are hugely expensive, often requiring families to invest everything they have into their farm equipment. A woman collects data on bio-fouling on mussel lines in the Marlborough Sounds.  The coming years will likely see an influx in ocean acidification research in the Marlborough Sounds. Even small operations, like this oyster boat in Stewart Island, utilize expensive technology.  The owners of this boat have not seen natural reproduction in the oysters they work with in three years. ]]>
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Sight and Smell: How Traditional Methods Won’t Hold up Against Ocean Acidification http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/07/25/sight-and-smell-how-traditional-methods-wont-hold-up-against-ocean-acidification/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/07/25/sight-and-smell-how-traditional-methods-wont-hold-up-against-ocean-acidification/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 12:13:06 +0000 Alexis Valauri-Orton http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8819

Ocean acidification is invisible to the naked eye.  It’s not something we can smell, not something we can feel with our fingers.  But in many parts of the world, that’s just how fishermen and shellfish farmers assess the water they work in.

Right now, the methods we have to understand and respond to ocean acidification are expensive, requiring a lot of equipment.  For example, oyster farmers in the Pacific Northwest rely on ocean monitoring systems that tell them the condition of the water, high-tech hatcheries that give them a controlled environment in which to rear their oysters, and buffering systems that allow them to neutralize the water coming in and make it suitable for oyster growth.

For shellfish farmers who are worried about making a profit at the end of the day, it can be impossible to foot the bill for expensive technologies like these.  That’s where government support comes in. The oyster farmers of Oregon and Washington State were able to build their defenses against ocean acidification with help from the federal government, which directed half a million dollars to the development of these monitoring and adaptation systems.

In many places I visited, however, government support was limited and these important technologies were nowhere to be found.

In Ban Don Bay, the hub of shellfish farming in Thailand, I sat on a wooden long-tail boat at peak clam harvesting hours: 1 – 4 am.  Why the middle of the night?  Because that’s when the tide is low enough to dredge the mud flats by hand.  A young man single-handedly hauled a steel cage up onto the boat, dumping out the clams that had been dredged from the farmed-flats below.  He threw the empty cage overboard, while an older man steered the boat ahead.  The cage dragged along the bottom for a few minutes until the young man tugged on the rope again to haul the harvests on board.

Thousands of shellfish farmers work the mudflats of Ban Don Bay.  But they rely entirely on natural seed, having no hatchery to supply them.  Many farmers told me of how they had observed changes in the water—an increase in algal blooms, changes in the smell and color of the water—but they didn’t understand these changes, and had no way of knowing what caused them. Jintana Nugranad, a Senior Fisheries Biologist working within the Thai Government, told me of how she had fought to maintain a shellfish hatchery and expand monitoring efforts to support the industry in Thailand through scientific research on shellfish and seed production, but received no support in her efforts.

This was the case for much of the scallop industry in Peru as well.  Farmers collect natural seed from an island near Sechura Bay.  There are a few privately-operated hatcheries in the bay, but so far none of them have equipment to monitor the chemistry of their intake water, or to modify the chemistry of that water if it proves too acidic for their scallops to grow.  Scallop farmers were hopeful, however, that the government and private sector would support the development of hatcheries throughout the country.

In Hong Kong, oyster farmers told me how they hope for similar support from their government.  They work in Lau Fau Shan, in the Northwest corner of Hong Kong’s New Territories.  The region is famous for its oysters, and the only place in Hong Kong where oysters are still grown.  One of the farmers, Mr. Chan, explained to me that the hyper-capitalist structure of Hong Kong means there is little support or services provided for primary industries like his.  He pointed to China, just across the bay, and told me of how shellfish farmers there receive government support to invest in advanced technology.  But in Hong Kong, he told me, “e He pointed  The way we farm oysters is very backwards. We rely on traditional knowledge that has been handed down for maybe 2,000 years.  It is not scientifically advanced.”  He told me of how they use the moon to time their farming activities and smell the water to determine its quality.

Time and again, Mr. Chan told me of how he wished to have access to more advanced technologies.  “Can you help me?” he asked.  “Can you teach us what they do in America?”

Given how many environmental pressures these shellfish farmers face, ranging from industrial and agricultural runoff to changes in temperature and frequency of algal blooms, it’s remarkable that they have been able to survive in the industry.  But ocean acidification is a powerful and complex threat.  It cannot be seen without the help of technology, and it affects every drop of water surrounding these shellfish.  Without access to monitoring equipment to determine what is happening and where, and with limited resources and access to technology that may allow for adaptation, it will be very difficult for these shellfish industries to survive.

It is therefore critical that we expand research efforts to improve our understanding of ocean acidification as well as our methods for addressing it.  This is exactly what NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program is doing, but the program needs more funding to accomplish its goals.  Support our petition to increase funding for NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program.

A man dumps a bucket of water over clams he has just dredged from the bottom of Ban Don Bay, in Thailand.  He harvests when the tide is lowest—in this case, in the middle of the night. Bamboo stakes mark the edge of shellfish farming beds in Ban Don Bay.  Some farmers sleep in wooden stilt houses at night. An oyster farmer from Surat Thani, home of Ban Don Bay, shows off his prize for having the highest quality of oysters in the region. A man and his wife smile as they sell their oysters at the local market near Ban Don Bay Juan is the manager of one of Peru’s only scallop hatcheries.  He doesn’t have the equipment to take high quality pH measurements in his hatchery. Mr. Chan pulls a string of oysters up from his bamboo rafts in Deep Bay, between Hong Kong and China. A man returns from harvesting oysters in Deep Bay. ]]>
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The Thing You Can’t Measure: Ocean Acidification Threatens Culture and Identity in New Zealand http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/07/18/the-thing-you-cant-measure-ocean-acidification-threatens-culture-and-identity-in-new-zealand/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/07/18/the-thing-you-cant-measure-ocean-acidification-threatens-culture-and-identity-in-new-zealand/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:55:46 +0000 Alexis Valauri-Orton http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8764

Photo: Alexis Valauri-Orton

These last two weeks, I have shared stories of how ocean acidification could affect economies around the world. These tangible impacts can be measured by changes in jobs, access to resources and overall economic condition. But what about the impacts you can’t measure? What will those changes be, and how will they affect people?

Throughout my Watson Fellowship, I sought to understand these intangible impacts. These hard-to-measure threats to things like one’s sense of place, identity and culture may not have dollar signs behind them, but to many of the people I spoke with, they were of utmost importance.

To explain this, I will share what I learned about the value of marine resources in New Zealand. There are two strong cultural lineages in New Zealand – the indigenous Maori community, and the descendants of Western settlers, who came primarily from England. Despite their distinct backgrounds, my conversations with both groups came to the same conclusion: the availability of seafood in New Zealand, particularly shellfish, is a matter of identity. If that seafood is gone, then the identity of the entire country suffers.

In the Maori language, the words for generosity and the courtyard of the meeting house are the same: marae. Waiaria Rameka, a shellfish biologist working in Tauranga, New Zealand, told me that each marae in New Zealand is known for a particular food item. This food item is a source of pride for each marae, and in a showing of generosity, it is always served for guests of the marae.

For many marae in New Zealand, this treasured food is a species of shellfish. These treasured species, are “not just a form of food [for Maori people], they’re who they are,” Waiaria told me. This references the concept of “mana,” a Maori term which Waiaria defined as “a person’s being, or energy.” This energy, she explained, comes not just from you, but from your ancestors before you. The strength of you or your tribe’s mana depends on the strength of your culture and traditions.

Waiaria told me how the availability of a marae’s treasured species affects their mana, saying, “If we can provide [that food] on the table, that means our mana as a people is upheld and preserved.  If we can’t provide [that food] then our mana is degraded.” Because the strength of your mana comes from the lineage before you, a breakdown of a long tradition like serving shellfish to visitors breaks an important link, and therefore poses significant harm to your mana.

For the descendants of Western settlers in New Zealand, shellfish and other types of seafood are also a matter of identity. Jim Barett, an oyster farmer from Stewart Island, New Zealand, told me of how his ancestors saw hope for a new life in New Zealand. In England, he explained, “Only the wealthy had access to resources.” And so when the settlers came to New Zealand, “they saw a land of plenty and allowed free access to it.” All beaches in New Zealand are public, and under their fisheries management programs, each citizen has a personal daily allotment of fish and shellfish. Keep in mind, the population of New Zealand is only 4.5 million, compared to 318 million in the United States. Their fisheries sector is strictly managed, and when you combine a well regulated fisheries sector with a small population size, there are abundant resources remaining for non-commercial use.

When I asked Jim what he wanted for his children and the next generation, he said, “I’d like [them] to be able to carry on doing what I did. To go and get a feed of shellfish or fish whenever they want.” He told me this was something all New Zealanders feel; “We feel we have a birth right, to be able to go down to the beach and catch a feed. It’s a very, very important part of our culture.”

His thoughts were echoed in nearly all conversations I had with New Zealanders. They all talked about this “right” to the resources of the sea, and the importance of preserving the abundance of those resources. At the Our Ocean Conference, I sat next to Shane Jones, New Zealand’s Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development, during lunch. I told him of how every New Zealander I spoke with talked about their right to catch a feed at the beach, and the need to protect fisheries and preserve that right. He chuckled and said, “That’s absolutely right.”

Though the fishing industry has a strong economic presence in New Zealand, the economy was never the focus of my conversations there. Each person, whether young or old, male or female, Maori or European, returned to the value of an abundant sea, and in particular an abundant source of shellfish. The value of this abundance was never told in dollars, but as a matter of identity.

New Zealand was not the only place I visited with an identity entwined with the sea, and shellfish in particular. The $3 bill of Aitutaki has a sea snail shell on the front, and one of the regional slogans of Thailand’s Surat Thani is “huge oysters.” Though the value of shellfish and other marine resources as a source of pride or identity may be hard to measure, I came to see that it was a critical part of the story of how ocean acidification will affect people.

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What Will Ocean Acidification Mean for a Small Town in Peru? http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/30/what-will-ocean-acidification-mean-for-a-small-town-in-peru/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/30/what-will-ocean-acidification-mean-for-a-small-town-in-peru/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 17:33:27 +0000 Alexis Valauri-Orton http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8635

Photo: Alexis Valauri-Orton

At the Our Ocean Conference, I had five minutes to tell an international audience why ocean acidification is a problem for people around the world. With my blog series this summer, we’re going to explore this further. I will share the stories of the people I met last year; stories that taught me how ocean acidification could threaten economies and cultures; stories that taught me the crucial need for increased monitoring, research and technology; and stories that taught me how all of us have a role to play in addressing ocean acidification.

Let’s start with the threat to economies. Just how important are the resources threatened by ocean acidification? To answer this, I want to tell you about two places that are very special to me: Sechura, in Northern Peru, and Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands. First, I will tell you about the scallop farming region of Sechura, and in my next post the tropical paradise of Aitutaki.

We know that ocean acidification threatens animals that build their shells from calcium carbonate, like oysters and scallops. We have seen the impact of ocean acidification on oysters in the Pacific Northwest, and a Canadian scallop farmer recently blamed his operation’s losses on ocean acidification. Scallops are grown around the world, and I had the chance to visit a new booming home of the scallop industry: Peru.

La Bahía de Sechura, or the Sechura Bay, is the 90 km wide bay that is home to Peru’s scallop farming industry. According to a sign by the road as you drive towards the docks, the bay is the “source of food and life for the world.” After six weeks in Sechura, it became clear to me that this sign was no understatement.

In Sechura, scallops don’t simply employ those who collect them from the bay, those hauling sacks of shells on docks, or those shucking and packaging scallops in processing plants. This $70 million export economy is a profound driver of the entire Sechura economy. Since the scallop industry took off in Sechura about ten years ago, an entire hospitality industry has emerged from nothing. There are now hotels and restaurants for business visitors, busses for long-distance commuters, and an informal taxi fleet for thousands of divers and deckhands to travel from the town to the dock forty minutes away. In Manocra, a tourist destination a few hours north of Sechura, artists take the scallop shells and sew them into purses, or elaborate lamps.

Each of these jobs requires a variety of skills, and the diversity of jobs allows for a variety of lifestyles. In Sechura, parents can ensure a steady income while alternating childcare duties when the father works mornings as a diver or deckhand, and the mother works evenings at the processing plants. Scallops also provide employment for those who are shut out of the job market otherwise. A man in a wheelchair in Mancora who told me, “Here, there is a lot of discrimination. If there are problems [with the shells] in the future, I have no options. It will be very difficult to find other work.”

These emerging industries and jobs, and the opportunities they create, have increased the quality of life in Sechura. Scallops have even improved the sanitation of the region. These hunks of sweet, white meat are extremely valuable in the export market, and extremely vulnerable to contamination from pollution. Thus, the towns surrounding the bay have taken it upon themselves to improve the quality of the water thereby improving the environment for both the scallops and the locals! For example, fishermen have redesigned the toilets on their boats to be self-contained, and the town surrounding the landing dock is building a new sewer system to control spills into the waterway.

With so many industries and opportunities supported by scallop farming, a collapse in scallop production due to ocean acidification could cause the entire economy to collapse along with the quality of life. A man selling produce in the market summarized this when he said to me, “Si no hay conchas en Sechura, no hay nada.” If there are no scallops in Sechura, there is nothing.

Scallops mean everything to Sechura. Everything. Ocean acidification threatens everything in this corner of northern Peru.

This sign on the road leading to the bay reads, “Bahía de Sechura: Fuente de alimento y vida para el mundo,” which translates to “Sechura Bay: Source of food and life for the world.” Gabrielle, the daughter of a hatchery owner, holds tiny scallops in her outstretched hand This beautiful statue in the town center of Sechura depicts a fisherman out at sea A diver prepares to enter the water. His only air source underwater is the plastic, free-flowing tube he holds between his teeth. Willie stands over scallops he has collected for students on a research cruise Deckhands monitor the air source of the divers blow A man at Seacorp Peru repairs lantern nets that will hold young scallops Men on docks carry sacks for scallops from boats to trucks set for processing plants The manager of an informal taxi system directs passengers to a car headed from Sechura to the docks Mercedes, an artist in Mancora, poses next to a curtain she wove with shells These elaborate lamps provide specialized employment for those shut out of the traditional labor force ]]>
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The World is Ready For the Our Ocean Conference, and the Conference is Ready For You http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/12/the-world-is-ready-for-the-our-ocean-conference-and-the-conference-is-ready-for-you/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2014/06/12/the-world-is-ready-for-the-our-ocean-conference-and-the-conference-is-ready-for-you/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:53:53 +0000 Alexis Valauri-Orton http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=8491

Photo: Alexis Valauri-Orton

On June 16-17th, Secretary of State John Kerry and the Department of State will bring together scientists, stakeholders and leaders from around the world for the Our Ocean Conference. This international event will focus on three pressing ocean issues: sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification. I am honored to be speaking on the ocean acidification panel at this conference.

I will be sharing stories I gathered from my year-long Watson Fellowship, studying how ocean acidification might affect human communities around the world. Over that year, I saw just how far-reaching ocean acidification’s impacts could be. We already know, from our experience in the US, that it hurts shellfish growers and the communities that depend on them. But around the world, there are whole countries and communities that depend on threatened species, such as coral for tourism, and fish for food and livelihoods. The stories I heard convinced me that we need to raise awareness and take action against ocean acidification at the international level. Here are some of those stories:

Photo: Alexis Valauri-Orton

Ocean acidification threatens shellfish, coral, and other marine species, and these resources can have tremendous impacts on human populations. Ko Jaob, an oyster farmer in Surat Thani, Thailand, home to Ban Don Bay and its famous oysters, told me, “If we lose the oysters of Ban Don Bay, we will lose one of the greatest things in the world.” These oysters are a source of pride and income for the region and, in the eyes of many, cannot be replaced.

Photo: Alexis Valauri-Orton

In some places, entire islands are at risk. Teina Bishop, Minister of Marine Resources in the Cook Islands, told me, “Tourism is our industry, and the pillars of tourism are our environment and our culture. If the coral goes away, we lose tourism. If we lose tourism, we lose income, and people will leave.”

Photo: Alexis Valauri-Orton

As we have learned from the Pacific Northwest, hatcheries provide shellfish growers with the opportunity to respond to changing ocean chemistry. But in most parts of the world, shellfish growers depend on ever-dwindling natural stocks. Pedro, a man I met in Paracas, in Peru, has been working in the sea for 50 years. He told me, “I have a dream that someday we will have a hatchery here.”

Photo: Alexis Valauri-Orton

Peter, a cod fisherman from the island of Værøy, in northern Norway, can trace cod fishing in his family back to the middle ages. He told me, “If the fish are not coming here, because there is too much CO2 in the ocean, what do we live off of? Then we have to move from this island.” He called the world to action, saying, “The whole world has to know. Not only in this small place, but the whole world has to know what is happening.”

At this conference, the global community will come together to learn about ocean acidification and other marine issues, and to make commitments and strides towards halting these threats. These commitments to research and collaboration will help us save the oysters Ko Jaob loves so much, ensure the people of the Cook Islands can thrive at home, allow Pedro to see his dream come true, and most importantly, as Peter in Værøy told me, make sure the whole world knows this is happening.

This conference needs your voice to be successful, and there are many ways to get involved. Read about the conference, join the Thunderclap, and stream it live to watch and participate as we work together to protect #OurOcean2014.

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