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Senate Holds Hearing on Ocean Acidification

Scientists, seafood industry warn of harm to marine life and food chain

The build up of carbon dioxide in the oceans is adding carbonic acid to their waters and threatening the survival of many important marine species, US Senators and witnesses are said at a subcommittee hearing.

In last 250 years the carbon content of the atmosphere and the oceans have increased 40%. In addition to the global warming caused by carbon in the air, the increased carbonic acid is threatening the protective, hard coverings of species such as shellfish and coral. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me) noted that the shellfish industry in her state is already noticing an effect on stocks.

"Seafood producers and consumers cannot afford to whistle in the dark about these changes," Sen. Maria Caldwell (D-Wa) said, reading from a letter from a seafood producer trade group.

Dr. James Barry of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute read from a summary of an upcoming National Academies of Science report on ocean acidification. It concluded that a continued build up of carbonic acids could corrode coral reefs and the shells of many marine species.

Hearing Webcast and witness statements are here.       Acidification resources are here.
(Note, the archived video has a 20-minute leader before the hearing begins.)

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