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Forums on Ocean Issues

The Aquarium of the Pacific hosts forums and conferences that bring together people from a variety of disciplines to explore complex ocean conservation and other environmental issues. These forums are either for national efforts or to develop a specific Aquarium exhibit. Below is a list, along with accompanying reports, of major MCRI forums. To find a specific topic within the report, be sure to use the PDF search function.

MCRI Forums

Offshore Aquaculture in the Southern California Bight

Sea Grant & Aquarium of the Pacific

July 1, 2015

Offshore Aquaculture in the Southern California Bight  buttonLink

The Sea Grant Workshop on Offshore Aquaculture in the Southern California Bight was convened in April 2015 to develop the frames of reference and rationale for creation of an offshore finfish aquaculture industry in southern California.

Coping With the California Drought Crisis

MCRI Forums

December 9, 2014

Coping With the California Drought Crisis  buttonLink

Preparing Southern California for Extreme Weather-Related Events

Aquarium of the Pacific & the California Department of Water and Power

January 8, 2013

Preparing Southern California for Extreme Weather-Related Events  buttonLink

This report is a brief summary of the forum held on November 28-29, 2012 at the Aquarium of the Pacific. For each of the four categories of extreme weather- related events that were ranked as having the greatest potential to cause serious disruptions in Southern California, we present a brief summary and an abbreviated set of recommended actions.

Using Scenario Planning to Shape the Future of the Southern California Bight

MCRI Forums

October 5, 2012

Using Scenario Planning to Shape the Future of the Southern California Bight  buttonLink

The Aquarium of the Pacific is releasing a new report from an Aquatic Forum that gathered ocean experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders to discuss the future of Southern California’s Urban Ocean that was held on July 24-26, 2012.

Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) in the Southern California Bight

Aquarium of the Pacific

September 27, 2011

Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning (CMSP) in the Southern California Bight  buttonLink

In July 2011 the Aquarium of the Pacific together with the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute and Sea Grant program hosted a forum to discuss coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP). The report was released in October 2011.

After the Gulf: What Did We Learn?

Aquarium of the Pacific

January 27, 2011

After the Gulf: What Did We Learn?  buttonLink

On October 21-22, 2010 the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Marine Conservation Research Institute (MCRI) conducted a Forum entitled “After the Gulf: What Did We Learn?” The focus of the first day was preventing recurrence of a similar event and when/if ones does occur, how to respond more efficiently and effectively. The focus of the second day was on the consequences of a continued reliance on fossil fuels, the role the ocean will probably play in meeting the continuing demand for oil, and strategies to accelerate a movement away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. A secondary theme was whether an event similar to Deepwater Horizon could occur off California’s coast.

The Role of Public Support in Protecting Special Places in the Gulf of CA and the Southern CA Bight

Aquarium of the Pacific

November 18, 2010

The Role of Public Support in Protecting Special Places in the Gulf of CA and the Southern CA Bight  buttonLink

Key to gaining public support in establishing marine protected areas and natural protected areas is including the public in the process of identifying, designating and maintaining these special areas. On September 23-24, 2010, a workshop was held at the Aquarium of the Pacific that brought together scientists, environmental managers, policy-makers, informal educators, and stakeholders to develop public outreach strategies for two areas with different challenges but the same need to protect ocean resources—the Gulf of California and the Southern California Bight. This report is a summary of the workshop discussion and recommendations.

The Southern California Bight (SCB) is a highly developed region with multiple and diverse uses by a population of more than 20 million people. The challenge is to allocate human uses and uses by marine life in a sustainable way.

The Gulf of California is sparsely developed and has a population of only about 8.6 million people, many of whom depend upon the gulf for their livelihoods. Fishing is a major source of income for them. The challenges here are to work for sustainable development and to ensure that plans for designation of special ocean places will enhance the standard of living of those whose livelihood depends on the Gulf of California resources.

Ecosystems and Fisheries

Aquarium of the Pacific

September 9, 2010

Ecosystems and Fisheries  buttonLink

The report explores the impacts a rising sea and associated storm surges will have on the U.S. and nations throughout the world, and on coastal living resources. It describes areas at greatest risk and offers suggestions for increasing the resilience of coastal communities.

In May 2009, the Aquarium brought together a group of leading marine scientists, informal educators, communicators, exhibit designers, and public policy experts to identify and explore major ocean issues and to develop documents and strategies to engage the public in these issues.

Support for the conference was provided by NOAA, NSF, Southern California Edison, the Marine Conservation Research Institute of the Aquarium of the Pacific, Kings Seafood, and Santa Monica Seafood.

Critical Condition: Ocean Health and Human Health

Aquarium of the Pacific

September 9, 2010

Critical Condition: Ocean Health and Human Health  buttonLink

This report explores the interconnectedness of ocean health and human health. The ocean provides benefits to human health including controlling our climate, providing a rich source of healthy protein, providing a source for new medicines, and providing recreational and aesthetic benefits. Yet the ocean also harbors marine toxins and disease causing agents. Human actions are adversely impacting the ocean, increasing these risks and despoiling the beneficial ocean resources. This report explores these concepts and describes some of the actions being taken to mitigate the risks.

Pollution in the Ocean: Everything Flows Downhill

Aquarium of the Pacific

September 9, 2010

Pollution in the Ocean: Everything Flows Downhill  buttonLink

The report explores the sources of pollution to the ocean, their consequences, and ways to manage manage each category of pollutants. Pollutants discussed include: marine debris, nutrients, CO2, toxicants, fecal wastes, oil, and noise.

Is Offshore Finfish Aquaculture in the Southern California Bight an Idea Whose Time Has Come?

Aquarium of the Pacific

January 27, 2009

Is Offshore Finfish Aquaculture in the Southern California Bight an Idea Whose Time Has Come?  buttonLink

The per capita consumption of seafood in the greater Los Angeles area is approximately twice the national average, and the demand continues to grow as population increases and people become more aware of the health benefits of eating seafood. How will the demand for seafood be met? Is sustainable aquaculture part of the answer?

In September 2008 the Aquarium convened a group of proponents of aquaculture, opponents, and the undecided to answer the question:

Is there an opportunity for development of offshore finfish aquaculture in the Southern California Bight?

Aquaculture Siting Workshop

Aquarium of the Pacific

January 12, 2009

Aquaculture Siting Workshop  buttonLink

On July 16, 2007 the Aquarium of the Pacific organized and facilitated a day and a half workshop that brought together scientists, restaurateurs, participants from the aquaculture industry, and representatives of governmental agencies to explore siting of fish farms in state and federal waters of the Southern California Bight.

Follow the link to read the goals of the workshop.

Priming the Pump

Marine Conservation Research Institute

November 13, 2008

Priming the Pump  buttonLink

On September 23, 2008, the Aquarium of the Pacific and the Long Beach Water Department convened and facilitated a forum to explore how southern California could make-up for these losses in water supply from the Delta.

The situation is compounded by losses from the Colorado River which supplies an additional 15-17% of the region’s total water use and which has experienced a severe drought for the past eight years. The forum brought together water experts, policy-makers, water managers, and environmentalists. The forum consisted of formal presentations to provide context and to explore options for diversifying southern California’s water supply portfolio, and interactive workshop sessions to review, revise, and refine each of the options. The forum concluded with an opportunity for the entire group to respond to the findings and recommendations for each option and to modify them.

This brief report is a summary of the findings and recommendations. All have the support of most, if not all, of the participants.

Danger on the Delta

Aquarium of the Pacific

March 13, 2007

Danger on the Delta  buttonLink

The Aquarium of the Pacific sponsored a half-day conference and workshop to explore the topic, “Danger on the Delta: Is Southern California Betting Its Future on an Unstable Water System?”

The timing was triggered by the publication of the book, “The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation” by Stephen Flynn, that contains a chapter on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta entitled “Danger on the Delta”, and on Flynn’s offer to give a public lecture on this chapter, and to participate in the conference.

Wetlands and Watershed Public Education and Outreach

Aquarium of the Pacific

October 12, 2006

Wetlands and Watershed Public Education and Outreach  buttonLink

The Aquarium of the Pacific and the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project hosted a half-day forum for zoos, aquaria, museums, and other educational organizations in the Southern California region to discuss wetland and watershed education and outreach.

Literally millions of people use these Southern California institutions each year, and there is a need to explore how all these organizations might work collaboratively to maximize the effectiveness of important messages about these issues. The forum resulted in stimulating and productive discussions where the participating institutions shared their experiences and ideas on wetland and watershed education outreach.

Ocean Desalination

Aquarium of the Pacific

October 5, 2006

Ocean Desalination  buttonLink

On October 5, 2006, the Desal Response Group and the Aquarium of the Pacific co-sponsored a one-day conference on ocean desalination that brought together more than 70 experts and activists on issues related to ocean desalination.

The stated goal of the conference was to provide a fresh, balanced perspective of the potential role ocean desalination might play in Southern California’s water portfolio in 2030. While some sessions might not have provided a fully balanced discussion of issues related to ocean desalination in the context of all other sources of fresh water, many important points of agreement and contention did emerge. This brief document is a summary of those points. We have divided them into three categories: major conclusions, points of uncertainty, next steps.

Conference on Ocean Literacy

Aquarium of the Pacific

July 21, 2006

Conference on Ocean Literacy  buttonLink

As part of the national Conference on Ocean Literacy (CoOL), the Aquarium of the Pacific hosted a simultaneous event in Long Beach, California.

The California conference brought together 119 participants representing academia, aquariums, museums, science centers, media, federal and state government officials and staff, industry, non-profit organizations, foundations, and other stakeholders with an interest in environmental literacy. Attendees discussed the essential principles of ocean literacy; suggested strategies for achieving ocean literacy; and outlined the current challenges and opportunities facing the nation and California for educating school children and the general public to make informed and responsible decisions about the ocean and its resources.

Increasing Public Ocean Awareness and Understanding

Aquarium of the Pacific

July 14, 2006

Increasing Public Ocean Awareness and Understanding  buttonLink

The average American has little knowledge of ocean and coastal ecosystems and how we humans affect them. And the gap between science and the public is increasing. It is clear that our oceans are in trouble and that any effective efforts to restore and protect them must be rooted in strong support by a well-informed public.

This has been the driving force for placing a much higher priority on public ocean education at the Aquarium of the Pacific. This theme of ocean awareness and literacy will be an integral component of both existing and future exhibits and programs inside and outside the Aquarium. The public’s ocean awareness, literacy, and stewardship must increase if we are to make strides in protecting and conserving our marine resources.

The Pike at Queensway Bay

Aquarium of the Pacific

April 10, 2006

The Pike at Queensway Bay  buttonLink

In 1992, the Disney Corporation decided not to bring the DisneySea theme park and development to the Long Beach urban waterfront. As a result, the City of Long Beach took it upon itself to make a plan to develop its under-utilized downtown shoreline.

The City hired the internationally known architectural firm, Ehrenkrantz & Eckstut, to prepare a master plan. The plan had three components: Rainbow Harbor, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and the Pike at Queensway Bay. With a $40 million loan from the Economic Development Administration of the federal government, Rainbow Harbor was dredged and a wonderful esplanade and docks created. The Board of Directors of the Aquarium of the Pacific sold $120 million in revenue bonds and partnered with Kajima Urban Development to open the Aquarium in 1998. The Pike at Queensway Bay has been the most difficult component to successfully complete.

Public Ocean Literacy II

Aquarium of the Pacific

March 15, 2006

Public Ocean Literacy II  buttonLink

In the past several years a number of reports about the ocean and its problems and surveys on environmental literacy have pointed out that while people love the ocean, many neither know much about it nor believe that their actions affect its health.

The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (USCOP) and the Pew Oceans Commission reports state a need to broaden ocean education and awareness at all levels of society from pre-schoolers to senior citizens so that, whether they live on the coast or in middle America, all will understand the impact the ocean has on them and the impact they have on the ocean. The goal—an “ocean literate” public. Ocean literacy is defined by the National Science Foundation’s Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) and the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) as “understanding the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean”. What ocean science does the public need to know and understand and what are the best strategies and methods for turning the science into messages and stories that make it not only memorable and understandable to the audience, but also result in stewardship of the ocean?

Public Ocean Literacy

Aquarium of the Pacific

October 26, 2005

Public Ocean Literacy  buttonLink

This report summarizes the results of a workshop held at the Aquarium of the Pacific. The workshop was held in response to the call for greater ocean literacy by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy (USCOP) report, the U.S. Ocean Action Plan, and the Pew Oceans Commission report.

In the past several years, a number of reports and research papers have pointed out that while people love the ocean, they neither know much about it, nor believe that their actions affect its health. That is, they are not “ocean literate.” It was also pointed out that there is a need to develop ocean education programs targeted not only at the formal education sector, but also at the general public—from pre-schoolers to senior citizens.

A Forum on the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers’ Watersheds

Aquarium of the Pacific

June 10, 2004

A Forum on the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers’ Watersheds  buttonLink

A watershed is defined as a specific land area that drains water into a river system or other body of water. The prominent cities in Southern California would not be located where they are today were it not for the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers and the fertile soil around its watersheds.

For centuries these rivers were the sole source of water for its inhabitants. The rivers’ water not only helped make Los Angeles County and Orange County two of the richest agriculture regions in the nation, but also shaped its image as the “Southern California Eden”. Today however, the images of our watersheds contradict its importance to the history and development of this region.

Forum on Ports II

Aquarium of the Pacific

December 3, 2003

Forum on Ports II  buttonLink

This meeting was the second in what is planned to be a series of meetings having the end goal of creating a public exhibit and collateral programs on the Ports of San Pedro Bay at Aquarium of the Pacific. These programs and exhibits will serve to educate guests of all ages about our ports and why they are an essential component of a sustainable coastal community in the future.

It’s Turtles All the Way Down

Forward Planning Committee of the Aquarium’s Board of Directors

August 26, 2003

It’s Turtles All the Way Down  buttonLink

As the Aquarium of the Pacific plans to expand, there is a need for fresh ideas to incorporate into the programs and exhibits. In order to increase and sustain attendance, the Aquarium must refresh itself through growth and improvements to the existing facility. Opportunities may be presented through future additions and extensions, but can also be started on a smaller scale with more modest and meaningful enhancements to the existing building. The second of a series of workshops on animals ranging from whales to corals, today’s meeting focused on the plight of turtles and the different ways the Aquarium can bring out their stories, threats, experiences, and habitats. A list of participants is included in Appendix A, and the workshop agenda is included in Appendix B. This workshop is an outgrowth of a discussion held by the Forward Planning Committee of the Aquarium’s Board of Directors.

Forum on Ports

Aquarium of the Pacific

June 6, 2003

Forum on Ports  buttonLink

The Aquarium of the Pacific is developing plans for a port exhibit. The Aquarium is the only aquarium in the country, perhaps the world, that focuses on building and sustaining natural capital—nature—by building and sustaining social capital—the ties between and among people.