How Can We Fix It?

Recognizing the major issue of ocean acidification is the first step to solving it. Highlighting the potential and inevitable consequences of this phenomenon, we can illuminate the magnitude of the issue, catalyzing widespread attention and action.

Monitoring is imperative to solving this worldwide issue, serving to reduce uncertainties and facilitate more targeted initiatives. Ongoing surveillance and predictive modeling in susceptible regions are instrumental in this regard.

Adaption is another crucial aspect; by modifying the growing environment, a higher survival rate can be achieved. Establishing nurseries and growing facilities, such as the Coral Nursery at Marine Conservation Costa Rica increases the likelihood of species survival. Manipulating water chemistry in laboratory settings further enhances prospects for thriving ecosystems.

Effective fisheries management is essential in achieving marine conservation. Through incentivizing the development of adaptive strategies within fisheries, a more holistic industry can be formed, and bycatch and overfishing can subside. Placing ocean acidification at the forefront of aquaculture and fisheries management decision processes will create a more mindful sector.

Mitigation of ocean acidification demands a global commitment involving all levels of government and organizations. Transitioning away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy sources is one of our best chances at reducing carbon inputs. Local, national, and global governments need to create effective, science-based solutions and initiatives that can assist in combating the effects of ocean acidification. Manipulating water chemistry in laboratory settings further enhances prospects for thriving ecosystems. Other governance strategies include reducing local sources of nutrient runoff to reduce acidification through more sustainable and effective city planning.

Coastal communities must consider exploring alternative livelihoods and financing options. A diversification of jobs in regions with high reliance on vulnerable species alleviates pressures put on marine ecosystems, enabling their recovery and replenishment. Small islands and coastal communities are the most vulnerable regions to ocean acidification and climate change. Considering this, it is imperative to create partnerships and support these communities as they will be the first to face the consequences of the world’s actions.

International Frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will promote more resilient coastal communities through international, multi-level cooperation. A cross-sector collaboration amongst scientists, business leaders, fisheries, and other key decision-makings can assist in the protection and conservation of coastal habitats. Providing long-term funding for monitoring, research, and restoration initiatives will be imperative in developing more sustainable industries.

SDG 14, life below water, encompasses critical issues related to ocean conservation and sustainable resource utilization. Some of the key initiatives within this Sustainable Development Goal are crucial in solving the issue of ocean acidification, including 14.3- Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels. SDG 14.7- By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism- is also incredibly important to achieving more sustainable management of the ocean.

Organizations such as The Ocean Foundation play a pivotal role in reversing ocean degradation through community foundation initiatives. Their International Ocean Acidification Initiative empowers vulnerable communities in understanding the chemistry changes of the ocean, monitoring these changes, assessing the risks of their social and economic health, and addressing the effects with good policy based on science. They have created an accessible kit to collect weather-quality data, such as carbonate chemistry and biological impacts. A widespread utilization of this equipment could significantly assist in achieving accurate monitoring and forecasting.