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Darling Marine Center scientist explains effect of ocean acidification on local fisheries to Bristol Area Lions Club 11/20/2014

Posted by DS in meetings, speakers.
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Bristol Area Lion President Brendan Donegan thanks Darling Marine Center’s Mick Devin for his presentation.

Bristol Area Lion President Brendan Donegan thanks Darling Marine Center’s Mick Devin for his presentation.

At the Nov. 17 meeting of the Bristol Area Lions, members learned about the effect of ocean acidification in the Gulf of Maine and its effect on the local shell fisheries.

Guest speaker, Mick Devin is a researcher and experimental shellfish hatchery manager at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and has an MS degree in Marine Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Ocean acidification is the changing chemistry of seawater caused by the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels and cement. The increase began with the industrial revolution in 1850 and has been accumulating steadily ever since. As CO2 is absorbed into seawater, the resulting reactions decrease the availability of carbonate ions, which are the building blocks of forming the shells and skeletons of many marine organisms.

The process also increases the amount of hydrogen ions which leads to lower pH and greater acidity. This means thinner shells on clams, mussels, oysters, lobsters, shrimp and sea urchins. Fresh and cold water holds more CO2. With its many large rivers flowing into the Gulf or Maine it has more ocean acidification than any other region on the eastern seaboard.

Devin is also our State Representative for District 51 and sponsored Bill LD 1602 to establish a commission to study and address the negative effects of ocean acidification on the ecosystems and major inshore shellfisheries.

The bill initially received an unenthusiastic response. 5,000 lobstermen and 3,000 stern men are employed in Maine. By emphasizing the effect of ocean acidification on jobs and the economy, and appeals to Augusta by 40 lobstermen and a representative of the aquaculture industry the legislators were convinced to support this important bill.

Our State Senator District 20 Christopher Johnson shepherded the bill through the State Senate and it was unanimously approved. In the House it passed with 140 in favor, four against and one absent. The legislation passed in April to commission the study of the problem and look for ways to mitigate it.

At the business meeting that followed Eyeglass Chairman, Carolyn McKeon presented visiting First Vice District Governor Cliff Roderick with 79 eyeglasses and 14 cell phones. The Bristol Area Lions maintain a collection box for used eyeglasses, hearing aids and cell phones at the Bristol/South Bristol Transfer Station for recycling to third world countries by Lions International.

The next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions is Monday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. at the Willing Workers Hall and will feature a presentation by Janice Mellyn, coordinator for CHIP, Inc. To make dinner reservations, call 677-6191. To learn more about the Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, contact Walt Johansson at 677-2584.


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