May 7, 2012
The public has the opportunity to contribute input to an upcoming Aquatic Forum in July to help shape the future of Southern California’s urban ocean. The Aquarium’s Aquatic Forums provide a venue for stakeholders to explore complex and pressing issues related to the ocean and environment. Public input is being gathered through July 13 via the Aquarium’s Twitter feed and Facebook page, as well as via e-mail and mail, and will be incorporated into the forum.
The Aquarium will be leading a discussion among ocean experts, policymakers, and a diverse group of stakeholders to develop potential scenarios for the Southern California urban ocean in the year 2050. These future scenarios will be based on the interplay of various actions by humans with changes in the oceanography of the Southern California Bight. Predetermined factors like population growth and sea level rise will be taken into account, as will driving forces like climate change, environmentalism, and the economy. The forum will also examine the critical uncertainties, like decisions made by government, which would affect the ocean and its use by humans and marine life.
The waters off Southern California’s shores are one of the world’s best examples of an urban ocean—a segment of the World Ocean used extensively and intensively by humans. This area is also one of the regions of the Pacific Ocean most intensively used by marine life, from dolphins to one of the largest and most diverse assemblages of whales to rich, productive kelp forests and the marine animals that inhabit them.
Please let us know by July 13 what you think are the most important driving forces, predetermined elements, and qualities you want for the Southern California Urban Ocean in 2050. Some of the qualities that have been proposed include:
- A rich mosaic of healthy, productive coastal and marine ecosystems
- Clean beaches and coastal waters
- A robust and diverse ocean economy that does not compromise environmental quality
- A strong ocean ethic
- Healthy coastal communities—in all dimensions (including economic)
- Diverse coastal recreation opportunities—both active and passive
- A balance of recreational and commercial uses
- A model for ecosystem-based management
- A robust and rich portfolio of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational programs—informal and formal—that nurture ocean literacy
- Public access
- Well-managed fisheries—both recreational and commercial