Cyr and Fernandes Announce Legislation to Study Effects of Ocean Acidification

Tim Dunn/

MARSTONS MILLS – State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) and State Representative Dylan Fernandes (D-Falmouth) held a press conference at the Cape Cod Oyster Company on Tuesday to publicly announce the success of an amendment the two had co-sponsored.

The amendment, now in law as Section 97 of Chapter 208 of the Acts of 2018, passed to the Environmental Bond Bill and was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker back in August. It will aim to look into the causes of ocean and coastal acidification, as well as look for preventative measures in order to reduce its effect on the fishing and aquaculture industries.

“There is a challenge that ocean acidification is going to mean for our marine environment, specifically for our burgeoning aquaculture industry,” Cyr said.

Both Cyr and Fernandes filed legislation in January 2017 to study the acidification of the ocean.

This past June, Cyr successfully proposed that the text of the bill be an amendment to the Environmental Bond Bill, which led to Governor Baker’s signature.

“We filed legislation. We filed it to multiple bills and we were persistent, and were able to get this language secured in the Environmental Bond Bill that was passed just before the end of the formal session in July,” Cyr explained.

The legislation calls for a 17-member special commission, consisting of lawmakers, appointees to the Governor, scientists specializing in ocean and coastal acidification, representatives from the shellfish industry, and fishermen.

The commission will attempt to determine the extent to which coastal and ocean acidification impacts commercially valuable marine species along the Massachusetts coastline.

The commission will attempt to address gape in critical scientific and general knowledge of what may be hindering the Commonwealth to appropriately respond to acidification. It will identify contributing factors to acidification and develop methods to mitigate its harmful impacts.

“It’s not only about the environment and addressing what’s been called climate change’s evil twin in ocean acidification. At the end of the day it’s really a jobs bill that not only preserves our incredible fishing industry here on the Cape and Islands, but also an industry, that when you think about the Cape and Islands, you really identify with,” Fernandes said.

“Today is just a really great day for shell fishing, also for science and our environment. This bill is a terrific bill.”

Public hearings will also be hosted by the commission that include scientists and representatives of important fisheries and other aquaculture industries in the state.

By TIM DUNN, NewsCenter

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