Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NOAA's chief poses 'grand' ocean challenge

Becky Evans in South Coast Today (Massachussetts): The chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is challenging the nation to reverse the decline of oceans and coasts and restore them to a "healthy, productive and resilient state" while tackling the issue of climate change. Dr. Jane Lubchenco unveiled what she called a "Grand Challenge to the Nation" during a speech Monday before ocean and coastal management experts who are attending a conference this week in the state capital.

"In our fisheries, the rich biodiversity of life swimming in and flying above the oceans, and our own well being all depend upon the actions we take this year and this decade," said Lubchenco, a marine ecologist who taught at Oregon State University before President Barack Obama appointed her as head of NOAA. "Too much is at stake to continue on our present path," she said. "Too much is at risk if we ignore either oceans or climate change."

…Climate change is already affecting coastlines and oceans through sea-level rise, increased storm surges, coastal flooding, coral bleaching and ocean acidification, Lubchenco said. In New England, she said, it threatens to alter fish and shellfish resources, presenting either new opportunities or new challenges for fishermen….

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