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Preparing Southern California for Extreme Weather-Related Events

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.

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

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.

Report front page

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

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.

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After the Gulf: What Did We Learn?

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.

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

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.

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Ecosystems and Fisheries

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.

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Critical Condition: Ocean Health and Human Health

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.

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Pollution in the Ocean: Everything Flows Downhill

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.

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

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?

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