only mitigation techniques discussed in this section of the Strategic Plan are reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and policies that improve the overall health of ecosystems by reducing other stressors (e.g., reduction in fishing catch, habitat restoration, and improvement in water quality).
Since the draft of the Strategic Plan was written, relevant additional studies have appeared that begin to estimate socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification, for example, by estimating impacts on industries such as global shellfish production (Narita et al., 2012) and the U.S. mollusk fishery (Moore, 2011). Both of these studies highlight the need for additional socioeconomic research on the economics of shellfish demand and production under changing ocean conditions. For example, Narita et al. (2012) discuss the importance of measuring the economic impacts on consumers and producers that might occur if rising income levels in China and elsewhere lead to an increase in demand for shellfish.
While it is true that the number of socioeconomic studies on the impacts of ocean acidification is limited, the Strategic Plan could mention the existing social science and interdisciplinary literature more completely and allude to research frontiers and relevant evolving programs. For example, the National Science Foundation is funding a considerable amount of research on decision-making under uncertainty, which has relevance for developing mitigation and adaptation strategies given the uncertain future outcomes of ocean acidification. Another related body of literature is the work in marine ecology, marine conservation, and economics on measuring the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of marine reserves (e.g., Fox et al., 2012 and citations therein), which represent one potentially important conservation tool in the ocean acidification adaptation toolbox.
Whereas the goals presented in Theme 5 are consistent with the FOARAM Act, their wording does not easily translate into measurable metrics that could be used to assess the progress of the forthcoming implementation plan (e.g., the use of verbs such as ‘support’, ‘encourage’, and ‘foster’). In addition, the way the goals are ordered (short- vs. long-term) is inconsistent with how rigorous research on decision-support tools is undertaken (e.g., Levin et al., 2009). As the Strategic Plan currently states, scoping discussions with stakeholders and decision-makers (e.g., to understand what questions the integrated models need to address) are long-term goals, while the development of integrated models that will be used in decision-support tools is a short-term goal. Without engaging stakeholders and decision makers in the scoping study, however, there is no guarantee that the integrated models will be useful in a decision-support context. Therefore, reordering the goals in terms of short-term and long-term efforts is needed.
Several other components of the analysis presented in Theme 5