recreational activities and conservation of marine species. In addition, studies on the demand and supply of shellfish and other commercially harvested species are needed. Such research would provide valuable insights regardless of the magnitude or timing of the ocean acidification impacts on those resources.
The introduction to this Theme does not mention the importance of social science (e.g., political science, economics, anthropology) and interdisciplinary research (e.g., conservation biology, sustainability science) in the development and evaluation of management strategies (e.g., policies, regulations) to meet National Ocean Policy objectives. In other words, the focus of the section is centered on quantifying socioeconomic impacts rather than on the design of institutions and regulations that facilitate adaptation to ocean acidification (e.g., Kling and Sanchirico, 2009; Sanchirico, 2009), on the potential for technology solutions, and on conservation strategies more broadly. Ocean acidification at the global scale can only be mitigated through policies that address lowering CO2 emissions. Given the well-known difficulties in finding policy options to lower CO2 emissions, the committee limits its review and discussion under this theme to research related to impacts, adaptation, and conservation.
A focus on adaptation is critical for ensuring that well-informed analyses are carried out to create policies that are effective in coping with the effects of acidification. There is a possibility that current governance and regulatory environments may provide incentives that lead to maladaptive responses, such as is the case with disaster relief packages or other subsidies that maintain overcapacity in commercial fisheries. Another example is the regulatory structure around fishery management that creates incentives for fishermen to specialize in certain species (e.g., purchasing of specific gear and construction of processing facilities), when in fact we might want to think about developing incentives to create a nimble fishing industry that can respond to the coming changes as a means to lessen potential damages. In the development of programs for adapting to acidification, it will be important to take an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates insights from marine conservation and conservation biology more generally and considers the role of other environmental stressors. Such an integrated analysis could provide an important link to Theme 2 (e.g., under “Food Webs and Ecosystems”).
Furthermore, the social sciences could provide valuable information on not only the economic, ecological, and social benefits and costs of ocean acidification, but also the risks of different mitigation techniques. There are multiple geo-engineering methods being considered, but presently they do not offer an adaptive response to ocean acidification (Matthews et al., 2009). That is, geo-engineering strategies commonly focus only on reducing global warming and fail to take acidification into account. The