Washington state Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Derek Kilmer have reintroduced bipartisan legislation in Congress that aims to fight ocean acidification.
House Resolution 2882, entitled the Ocean Acidification Innovation Act, would allow federal agencies to use existing funds to design prize competitions to increase the ability to manage, monitor and research ocean acidification and its impacts, according to a press release.
The legislation is budget-neutral and was created in collaboration with key stakeholders.
Ocean acidification is a rising threat to coastal communities in Washington, according to the release. Science has shown the shells of pteropods are dissolving due to acidification. The shells of shellfish are made up of the same components, causing concern about future implications on the species, according to the release.
“The shellfish industry in Pacific County that produces 25 percent of our nation’s oysters continues to struggle against the negative effects attributed to ocean acidification,” Herrera Beutler said in the release. “Our common-sense bill uses incentives to better understand and find solutions for this rising threat.”
According to numbers provided in the release, the commercial and recreational fishing industry in the state supports over 67,000 jobs and contributes over $300 million in revenue. Washington leads the nation in producing farmed oysters, clams and mussels. Growers in the state contribute more than $250 million to the economy, supporting more than 3,200 jobs, according to the release.
In Mason County, the shellfish industry is the second largest employer, according to the release, while Pacific County’s fishing and processing industry contributes over $150 million to the local economy.