Chair: Jessica Ericson
1 School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 98105, USA
The impending effects of ocean acidification on coastal ecosystems remain poorly resolved, in large part due to the organizational complexity and adaptive capacity inherent in marine ecosystems. As a consequence, managers are challenged to implement strategies under conditions of substantial uncertainty. Appropriate strategies will forestall abrupt changes in coastal ecosytems and “buy time” as scientific understanding and management options improve.
In the U.S., existing provisions for ecosystem-based fisheries management, spatial protections (e.g., MPAs), and coastal ecosystem management all can be used to support ecological resilience, offering opportunities to address OA through immediate action. I use specific examples from the U.S. west coast of to illustrate the utility of a resilience approach to managing ocean acidification in the near-term.
Under prevailing conditions of uncertainty, resilience approaches offer a framework for shaping practical responses to the likely biological and ecological effects of OA in coastal systems. Such approaches can be implemented under many existing management regimes, thereby avoiding lengthy delays associated with the establishment of new regulations.
Management approaches that support ecological resilience offer a practical means of addressing the near-term impacts of ocean acidification under conditions of uncertainty. Such approaches can be implemented immediately under existing management regimes, are generalizable across geographic and governance domains, and can be tuned to improve outcomes in specific settings.