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Conclusions of the 3rd International Workshop on the Economics of Ocean Acidification


Following two and a half days of intense discussions, the conclusions of the 3d International Workshop on the Economics of Ocean Acidification were presented on 14 January at the Oceanographic Museum. This third workshop focused on the impacts of ocean acidification on coastal communities. The workshop brought together 53 experts from 20 countries.

This third workshop focused on the socio-economic impacts of ocean acidification on coastal communities and their adaptation options at different levels, with the objective to provide recommendations to policy makers and resource managers. The discussions centered around five major themes: coastal communities dependent on fisheries and aquaculture, coral reef and marine based tourism, modelling of biological, economic and sociological impacts, potential societal action and adaptation and, governance, governments and legislation.

The main conclusions and recommendations of the workshop were presented by David Osborn (Director, IAEA Environment Laboratories) and Denis Allemand (Scientific Director, Monaco Scientific Centre) to HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, French government officials, SEM Hadelin de la Tour-du-Pin (Ambassador of France to Monaco), US government representatives, Dr. Libby Jewett (Director, NOAA Ocean Acidification Program), and an audience of members of the Principality government, scientists and officials from environmental organizations.

The main conclusion is that the economic, social and cultural impacts of ocean acidification will be mostly negative. Even if the impacts are considered small at this point in time, they will become increasingly important in the future.

Among tourism activities, those connected to coral reefs will be the first affected as they are particularly sensitive to ocean acidification and climate change. These activities are currently growing rapidly, with global revenues for 2010 estimated at around €10 billion.

Main recommendations from the experts:

•  Reducing CO2 emissions is the first objective to achieve a sustainable solution but this also requires reducing local stressors and the creation of marine protected areas.
• Adaptation pathways (e.g., population migration, habitat restoration, coastal protection, changes in craft practices) are costly. It is wiser to encourage mitigation solutions (reducing CO2 emissions) and include the oceans in international negotiations on climate change.
• The resilience of ecosystems and societies should be increased by improving the management of fisheries and aquaculture, restoring fish stocks and biodiversity and empowering vulnerable communities.
• It is important to continue the search for innovative sources of funding and work to include ocean acidification in the "Green Climate Fund".
• Knowledge and capacity development is crucial including promoting platforms for collecting data and disseminating information.
• Social aspects of ecological solutions must be taken into account.
• Interdisciplinary cooperation should be encouraged in order to provide solutions to decision makers.

HSH Prince Albert II recalled that ocean acidification is a major concern for the Principality, as demonstrated by the actions of his foundation, and the creation of the Monegasque Association for ocean acidification in 2014 which coordinates the activities of Monaco organizations (FPA2, MSC, IAEA, Oceanographic Institute) working in this field.