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What are the challenges faced in your community, country or region in achieving Target 14.3, aimed at minimising and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification?

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Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee said:

Dear colleagues,

The discussion during the past weeks, showed the growing number of research efforts and scientists entering the field of ocean acidification. Your comments highlighted the various initiatives and programmes spread out around the world, the different approaches and the difficulties each of us faces in order to achieve SDG. 14.3.

In general, the challenges can be divided in mainly 3 categories: 1. Globally aligned ocean acidification observation of the chemistry and biology affected 2. Developing methodologies to adapt and minimize the impacts of ocean acidification 3. Implementation of new technologies and encouraging societal change to decrease additional stressors and reduce the source of ocean acidification.

Nevertheless, these challenges can be translated into new opportunities for joint action and new activities all over the world, such as:

  • Long term observation and short term studies of ocean acidification and the related impacts on marine life are both needed to improve projections of the future ocean
  • Including changes in circulation patterns and weather conditions, changes in coastal pollution, in the model projections and experimental work
  • Use of existing observation sites to improve the global coverage of ocean acidification observation
  • Globally cooperation of scientists, governments and UN organizations, specialized agencies, IGOs and NGOs, to can encourage the implementation of similar observation strategies adapted to the particular environment, technical and human capacities.
  • The development of new technologies can also provide new opportunities for economies and like this increasing their economic benefit. These technologies can include less expenisive observation tools on and renewable energies (e.g. wind energy, solar energy).

However your contributions also showed that at the same time a clear political endorsement and commitment is needed to finally achieve target 14.3, including sustained support for ocean acidification observation and experimental work, for using new ‘green’ technologies, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and additional local stressors (e.g. pollution).

Thanks a lot to all of you!

Benjamin Pfeil's picture

Benjamin Pfeil replied:

Dear all,

one critical part was not mentioned explicitly. Currently observational data being measured within various networks are not easily accessible for the scientific community. This severely affects the outlined challenges and actions and has to be addressed. While the integration and interoperability of oceanographic and biology data remains a challenge – will the integration and interoperability of data from the field of natural sciences with data from social sciences be essential for quantifying the societal impact.

Clear commitments are needed to make interdisciplinary research in the field of OA possible.

Best wishes,


A.Saravanakumar's picture

A.Saravanakumar said:

The Arabian Sea, cradling a diversity of marine habitats including coral reefs, is witnessing acidification of its surface waters, a consequence of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, say Indian scientists.Using remote sensing, researchers collected and analysed data spanning ten years with the focus on five parameters that directly correlate with carbon condition of the ocean surface. The idea was to monitor the status of two important regions of the Indian Ocean: the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal."One of the parameters is particulate inorganic carbon (PIC). We noted a decreasing trend of PIC over the last decade, which is linked to the decrease in abundance of phytoplanktons, microscopic organisms that form the base of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems. This might be due to over-accumulation of carbon dioxide. Arabian Sea, encompassing the northwestern sector of the Indian Ocean, covers a total area of around 3,862,000 sq. km. It is enclosed in the north by Iran and Pakistan, to the west by the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and to the east by the Indian Peninsula. The study area spans 3,471,000 sq. km.The world's oceans are alkaline, with a pH factor a little over 7. Anything below that number makes the water less alkaline and more acidic. Pure water is neither alkaline nor acidic."In this study we have also taken into account the Andaman Sea lying adjacent to Bay of Bengal. Here we have a system of coastal buoys that require this integrated participation in University and institution in planning and maintenance. For which  I propose the following should be done make public awareness of OA as a phenomenon and it related impacts. In this regard, sensitization should focus to police makers and Scientist. So, we need expertise from developed countries with advanced expert and high sophisticated instrumentation in OA studies and also collaborating with those countries and strengthen the global effort in OA networking group.  


Libby Jewett's picture

Libby Jewett replied:

Thank you for your input. Yes, it is definitely important to share scientific knowledge with scientists in developing countries – international collaborations are one way of achieving that. That is certainly one of the goals of the GOA-ON Pier2Peer program. If you have not already signed up for it, I would encourage you to do so. GOA-ON also helps facilitate international training opportunities, so keep your eye out for upcoming opportunities. Thanks, Libby. 

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

Thanks for this

I just wanted to mention a very active scientist working in Kuwait: Saif Uddin

I was there a few weeks ago for a training on ocean acidification and we are planning a practical "biological experiment" training and joint experiment in 2018.

Saif is very active, monitoring carbonate system, developing ambitious experimentations and coordinating OA initiatives in the region.

You may want to take contact with him

Patricia C. Briceno's picture

Patricia C. Briceno said:

Dear all,

In Ecuador, regarding awareness challenge, when our team started the Equatorial Biome & Ocean acidification EBIOAC group on 2014 we face that ocean acidification was practically unacknowledged in the country.

Thus, we updated our research program to prioritize diffusion and promotion for strategic sectors as academic and research institutions in coastal areas, and National stakeholders & policy makers. About 3 years later we can say that awareness level is medium to high in most of these sectors. As much as to have on 20th December 2016, approved the National Environmental Code the National Assembly, which compiles and update all national environmental laws, and explicitly mention Ocean Acidification on the importance of its mitigation for fisheries, aquaculture and biodiversity.

Maybe we are one of the first countries on include OA in their legislation and based on scientists recommendations. We expect that also will be helpful for rising support & funding for our research. Could you share the experience on this issue on your countries?


PD. I will be back soon on the other challenges pointed by Kirsten.

Patricia C. Briceno's picture

Patricia C. Briceno replied:

Hi Libby and Sam,

We have given several steps, but still on the “marathon".

Totally agree, Libby that inclusion in the law should imply some budget, but in the short term I don’t think our country is investing directly on OA. Unfortunately, OA is still behind earthquakes, floods and ENOS regarding coastal and marine priorities; and more related to infraestructure mitigation, than basic research.

In Ecuador, the approval of laws pass by several steps, the biggest is the National Assembly, however after this it must be sent for partial or total approval by the President, process in course now. Surely I will let you know, personally I found important to summarize how long and how to get OA in the legislation for the diverse contexts we have here.

So that take us to another challenge - Measuring the changes in ocean chemistry and biological effects - for which we following news on the equipment and the work IAEA is developing with Andrew y Sam.

It is true that lack of funding should not stop us, on that we are focusing on the biological impacts measured in lab, still there is limited information on the chemistry in the Equatorial Eastern Pacific.

Thus, on the “Technologies and trained scientists enabling the countries to achieve target 14.3 need sustained investment and training efforts. New technologies, less costly, will be needed to ensure global ocean acidification observation.” I only can say YES!

For multiple stressors, we are proposing to integrate the ENOS “machinery” on OA research, that possible our strongest multiple stressors scenario in the Equatorial Eastern Pacific.  

Libby, is NOAA OA research program interacting with ENOS division? I would very appreciate to have your point of view and expertise on this.

On changing behaviour, the country advanced on programs rising awareness on marine plastic pollution, and actions for changing behaviour to reduce CO2 industry emissions. But maybe not so extended because Ecuador is not yet a high polluter or CO2 producer; so that, environmental and climate change actions focus on to mitigate the local impacts from global origins. Point of view that tend to be also applied to OA research, expecting it gives fast responses to mitigate; and we know that it is not a fast process.

Libby Jewett's picture

Libby Jewett replied:

Dear Patricia,

So great to hear the progress you’ve made in Ecuador getting ocean acidification recognized in your national legislation. This is a great step toward broadening awareness of this issue. As you may know, in the United States, we also have legislation focused on ocean acidification. In fact, the legislation, called the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, was passed in 2009 and requested that NOAA establish a national OA research and monitoring program which I now direct.

Has the passage of your national legislation made it possible for Ecuadorean national funding to be made available for OA research and monitoring? If so, this might help Ecuador meet the need for OA monitoring as established in SDG 14.3.  I agree with Sam that it would helpful to see the documents to which you have referred. Scientists from other countries might be able to point to them as an example of what could happen in their countries as well.

Thanks, Libby

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

Thanks, Patricia.

This is amazing to see what you are doing and very inspiring !

Do you have a summary that you could share with me? (document, etc.)

Thanks for what you are doing over there !

Intan Suci Nurhati's picture

Intan Suci Nurhati said:

In Indonesia, we need to improve our understanding on (i) variations and trend in seawater carbonate chemistry and (ii) long-term impacts of OA. As we know, reduced pH conditions could be driven by pollution as well as ocean acidification phenomenon tied to climate change. We know that OA must have been affecting our seas, but to what extend and how, are still largely unknown.

With respect to the first point, we also need to consider the complexity of Indonesian seas that could regulate pH changes in seasonal timescales when we want to talk about any long-term trend. Some modeling works have suggested the role of the monsoon in driving seasonal pH changes.  And depending on the locations (shallow western Indonesian seas vs. deep eastern Indonesian seas), we also deal with their different roles as sink or source of CO2. So currently, our institution is setting up long-term monitoring of seawater carbonate chemistry. As you could understand, the logistics are not easy. Not only considering the size of the country but funding cycle/scheme that makes continous monitoring effort difficult. But this year, we hope to start this in one of our research stations in central Indonesia (more managable for us to do), and we hope to be able to have a network of monitoring sites in the coming years.

With respect to the second point, our approach is to use coral cores to estimate their calcification changes (so accounting for their annual growth rate and density) over the past centuries. We also consider the use of calcification accreation units but data from a long-term perspective using coral cores would be more insightful.

One or the sites that we are planning to do these activities is in one of Indonesia's hub for pearl industries, so our target is to look at OA impacts to ecology as well as the economy.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

This is an excellent strategy.

I would suggest to also invest some energy in evaluating the sensitivity of species and ecosystems, not only monitoring for long term impacts. That can be achieve by biological experimentation (can be done at low costs). This would be require if you want to make some projections and develop some locally relevant adaptation strategies as well as make value-oriented communication and outreach.

We are working toward the development of methodologies for this. Let me know if you want more info

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:


This is a great strategy to monitor chemical changes at different scales (weather, climate) as well as monitoring biological impacts.

What about evaluating biological effects? This would require experiments and together with the weather monitoring data would allow to make some projections on impacts.

Intan Suci Nurhati's picture

Intan Suci Nurhati replied:

Thanks for your response, Sam.

Yes, we have discussed about this aspect as well, which is definitely an important issue to understand.

This year, our institute would like to prioritize our time and resources on the two mentioned activities whose data is almost inexistent. And I forgot to mention that besides looking at changes in coral calcification, we are also reconstructing past pH condition in Indonesian waters with our coral core samples.

Evaluating biological effects is a big effort in itself, and we also understand that many works have been conducted on this aspect with different organisms, tank experiments as well as in natural environments. We thought of conducting tank experiments, but we want to ensure that our works are not duplicative efforts with respect to exisiting works using different organisms and settings; as well as the issue with translating tank-based results to real open ocean settings. Another line of work that we are considering is to monitor seawater carbonate parameters and biological responses via autonomous measurements for a certain length of period. However, we do not have the set up right now, so if anyone would like to discuss for potential collaboration, I'd be happy to discuss more on this.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

(I am an experimental biologist, so I am a little biased here :D)

I do understand limitations and priorities but I would strongly advise to start some experimental work as early as possible.

- Monitoring in extremely important, both chemistry (we cannot work without an understanding of the carbonate variability, especially weather) and biology (as a documentation of past and present). However, it is difficult to understand the mecanistic relationship with only monitoring and to then project the future and design adaptation strategies. It is a little "documenting the disaster" and it is hard to see what is causing it.

- You should not be worried about "duplicating existing efforts". What we have learn so far is that if what we know today gives us a good picture of trends, these trends are not applicables for local realities. Every site has a unique suite of challenges (reason why you need chemical monitoring) and local adaptations and ecological interactions. You need a local understanding to to be able to make any assumption. For example, it is not because a species of coral is sensitive to a given value of pH or saturation state in one location that it means it will be the case in another (see our recent article, Vargas et al. 2017 in Nature Ecology & Evolution).

- Related to this last point, what we already know allow us to design experiment testing specific locally relevant hypotheses. So again no reason to worry about duplication. You can use what is there to move from exploration to hypothesis-testing.

- Biological experimentation does not necessarily requires complex or expensive settings. Many questions can be done using simple infrastructures. We are facing similar challenges in Africa and we could work with a very basic lab and design nice experiments.

These are central questions in the GOA-ON biology working group and the IAEA INT project. We are developping some tools that would allow to start relevant biological experimentations.

What you are doing is very impressive but I would not delay biological experimentation. The answer and development of solution can only come from the combination of all these approaches.

Let me know if you want more information or if I can help working along those lines.

Lee Choon Weng's picture

Lee Choon Weng said:

Our research funding is usually for about two to three years, and there is no funding for long-term monitoring stations. Ocean acidification is probably harder to prove in coastal waters where pH fluctuates. A more practical approach would be if there is long-term data to show that the pH have been decreasing over time. Therefore availability of long-term funding (5 to 10 year cycle) for seawater monitoring will be most useful.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:


This is a very good point.

However, to be useful, monitoring should not always be "long-term" and there are things that you can start to implement, even with short term funds.

When it comes to ocean acidification, we have two complementary sides:

- Long-term monitoring (high quality data, low time resolution; "climate"): allows to see the long term trends and document ongoing acidification. However, it would be difficult to extrapolate biological impacts from those data.

- Short/Long-term monitoring (can be lower quality data BUT high space and time resolution: "weather"): this would allow to understand present conditions experienced by marine species and ecosystem. This is critical to design experiments but also to make some assumptions on future impacts (assuming adaptation, see Vargas et al. 2017 in Nature Ecology & Evolution).

So there are important things that can be started, even under strong time and money limitations.

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee said:

Dear all,

It is encouraging to see all your replies to the question, regarding the challenges you face in your community, country or region in order to achieve the Target 14.3 – minimizing and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification, showing global will and interest to address the problem of ocean acidification.

The discussion so far showed that there are multiple aspects to this question.

  1. Starting at level of awareness, clearly there is a need to increase the knowledge about the impacts and consequences of ocean acidification at all levels and the need to observe the effects decreasing ocean acidity to close existing data gaps. – see OA-AFRICA OCEAN ACIDIFICATION DAY!
  2. Measuring the changes in ocean chemistry is a first step to minimize the impacts of ocean acidification. However, global ocean acidification monitoring should include biology measurements, suited to observe the alterations of marine life.
  3. Technologies and trained scientists enabling the countries to achieve target 14.3 need sustained investment and training efforts. New technologies, less costly, will be needed to ensure global ocean acidification observation.
  4. Ocean Acidification is not happening in isolation, other local stressors in particular ocean pollution are worsening the impacts of ocean acidification on ocean health. The reduction of these local stressors will increase the resilience of marine ecosystems.
  5. CHANGING BEHAVIOUR - all these points above, increasing awareness and knowledge, improving ocean acidification observation, including biological measurements, will hopefully lead to a change of behavior – changing behavior to reduce CO2 emissions, pollution, and exploitation of the ocean resources etc.

    Thanks a lot for all your contributions and I am looking forward to more discussions during the upcoming week!


Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont said:

(I am not sure if this is the best question to post this)

The indicator for the SDG 14.3 is 14.3.1Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations

Since the goal 14.3 is "Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels"

As a biologist, I have some doubt that the indicator would allow us to achieve or evaluate this goal. Marine species, ecosystems and associated services do not respond to average. Moreover, ocean acidification is much more than a simple change in pH (whole carbonate chemistry).

I understand the need to have simple and achievable goals (a good start) but we should maybe reflect on what is needed to achieve our goal.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont said:

Thanks Kirsten for leading this discussion. From what I read, there is a lot interest on how to increase local awareness. This is one of the mission of the OA-Africa network. We have decided to take advantage of the Ocean Conference and the ocean day to try to make some noise for ocean acidification research. We will then organize an ocean acidification day during the conference and use this to attract interests locally and globally. This is NOT limited to Africa. So join us if you are interested.

Show your support to the OA-Africa network by joining the ocean acidification day on the June 8, 2017.


Ocean acidification is now identified as major threat to marine ecosystems and is one of the SDGs target: “14.3 Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels”. When it comes to understanding, projecting and anticipating the impacts of ocean acidification, some countries or even continents are left relatively unexplored. For example, no studies were performed on ocean acidification impacts along the coasts of Africa despite its biological and socio-economical vulnerability to future global changes.

This was the rationale behind the development of an ocean acidification Africa network. OA-Africa has been developed over three training courses (South Africa, Mozambique, Mauritius) and recently launched at a recent ocean acidification capacity building and networking workshop in Dakar, Senegal (13 - 16 February 2017). Prominent researchers representing several African coastal countries discussed the coordination and regional priorities for ocean acidification activities on the continent. Broadly, the network aims to coordinate on ocean acidification related research and monitoring, provide information and guidance to stakeholders and policy makers, and promote and advance ocean research through outreach and capacity building initiatives.

The OA-Africa network is leading an African “ocean acidification day”. It was agreed that on the ocean day (June 8, 2017), scientists from all over Africa and in partner countries will join forced to measure pH at the same time, following the indicator of the SDG 14.3: “Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations”. This initiative led by African scientists (Folasade Adeboyejo from Nigeria & Andry Herizo Rasolomaharavo from Madagascar) and facilitated by Sam Dupont (Sweden) and Martin Le Tissier (Ireland) will be broadly communicated through a national and international press and social media campaign.

Ocean acidification has no frontiers and you can support this initiative of the OA-Africa network by joining African scientist and:

  • Take a pH measurement on your coast on the June 8, 2017
  • Take a picture of the even and share the data on a large scale social media campaign
  • Contact the press to join the event (OA-Africa will provide a press release that will be available in several languages)

If you are interested and receive additional information, please contact sam.dupont@gu.se.



Greetings from Benin,

Here in Benin, Ocean acidification in not very much knew by many people. There are not very  interesting about OA due to the complexity to understang the concepts about the subject.

In my Oceanography and Fisheries Reseach Institute of Benin (IRHOB), Ocean acidification is one of new thematic that we are including in our research priorities.

In Benin, very few  Benin people have erpertiuse or have been trained in Ocean Acidification monitoring and or marines sciences.  There is need for capacity bulding  trough training and network. Last month, we  participated in OA Senegal training and networking event. This Network aand training brought together,student and reseachers from across the  regions of  Africa. The nework aims to coordinate on OA  related research and monitoring, provide information and guidance to stakeholders and policymakers, promote and advance OA reseach through outreach and capacity bulding initiavtives, identify vulnerabilities and needs. We need to encourage such initatives, we need to include researches on OA in  our universities, research institutions.

In my institute, we have many challenges, we are improving the estimation of CO2 flux in troipical Atlantic mainly in Gulf of Guinea using observation  and models data. We are planing to develop regional biogeochemistry model.


Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:


It was very nice meeting you in Senegal.

Things are moving in the right direction in Africa and the development of the OA-Africa network and associated initiative will help individual countries to develop their OA research. For example, the OA-day (thanks for agreeing to be part) will be a fantastic opportunity to communicate the issue.

But training and even equipment and infrastructure is not enough. The success can only come from motivated individuals ! So thank you for your passion and keep communicating locally to attract more persons to this cause.

Looking forward continuing working with you

Jason Hall-Spencer's picture

Jason Hall-Spencer said:

Here is my UK perspective.. 

· Ocean acidification is expected to have negative impacts on UK shellfish and coral species

· Ocean acidification effects are intensified by ocean warming and other stressors

· Further research should be aimed at measuring animal responses within a realistic natural context, looking at multiple stressors in multiple populations

· Areas with naturally high levels of CO2 provide a natural context for understanding regional variation in ocean acidification impacts, but such work is lacking form the NE Atlantic

· The UK should implement an ocean acidification monitoring programme in collaboration with the seafood industry

These insights come mainly from research using naturally occurring CO2 vent systems around the world, observing the effects of acidified marine ecosystems first-hand. Dissolved CO2 levels at these habitats approximate those expected by the end of the century, providing an ecosystem level insight into what we can expect to see in the future.  These studies, looking at hundreds of species, reveal a consistent loss of biodiversity with increased acidification. Seaweeds (including invasive species) proliferate, whilst organisms that produce calcium carbonate hard parts (e.g. shellfish, urchins and hard corals) lose out because of the increased corrosiveness of the water. A recent study at the CO2 vent habitats has provided the first evidence that ocean acidification can alter fish spawning in the wild. Complimentary laboratory-based work by Prof John Spicer and colleagues has shown the potential impacts of future ocean acidification on a range of UK animal species, including those of commercial significance to the UK. For example, very young lobsters show decreased survival under simulated ocean acidification conditions. This potentially reduces the proportion that will grow to adults and recruit to fisheries stocks. Likewise, oyster production in the UK (worth ~£10.4 million) is also expected to be negatively impacted, leading to a loss of revenue and ecosystem services. As well as the direct impacts on economically important species, ocean acidification will impact important habitat forming species in UK waters, such as deep cold-water corals that are already under pressure from fishing. Under the worst case scenarios over 85% of these reefs are expected to be exposed to corrosive waters by 2060. Maerl beds (a type of coralline algae) also act as important nursery areas and are expected to be negatively impacted by ocean acidification, based on experimental evidence. Both cold-water coral reefs and maerl bed reefs are Habitats of Principal Importance/Priority Habitats, listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive and on the OSPAR List of Threatened and/or Declining Species and Habitats. Ocean acidification is occurring faster than at any time over the Earth’s history and may have contributed to past extinction events. Indeed, changes in species observed at naturally acidified ecosystems today mimic those seen after major mass extinctions.

Ocean acidification is occurring in concert with multiple other stressors, which can act synergistically to generate greater impacts than either stressor on its own. The principle additional stressor is ocean warming associated with climate change. In many experiments carried out so far ocean warming appears to compound the effects of ocean acidification and at times exceeds those of ocean acidification. Other factors such as nutrient (food) availability appear to mediate responses to ocean acidification. High nutrient levels encourage the growth of opportunistic seaweed under ocean acidification conditions, while mussels seem to cope better with the stresses of ocean acidification if there in food-rich waters like those of the UK. For example, experimental work has shown that the immune response of mussels is tolerant to levels of ocean acidification expected in the next 300 years.

Whilst we know with certainty that the chemistry of waters around Britain and her overseas territories is changing rapidly due to rising CO2 levels this situation is not being monitored.  There is a real need to focus on the biological consequences resulting from ocean acidification effects with: (i) other stressors, (ii) overall repercussion for ecosystems (including fisheries and aquaculture) and (iii) end-users. It is also imperative that a monitoring system is put in place, preferably in collaboration with the aquaculture and fisheries industries that may need to adapt to changes in ocean chemistry and alterations in marine habitats in order to remain profitable. Work in areas with naturally high levels of CO2 in the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean has shown that the impact of ocean acidification will vary regionally, I recommend that similar work is undertaken in the NE Atlantic.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

This is a good illustration that what we need is a combination of different approaches to gather the requested information allowing us to take concrete actions: field, lab, modelling, paleo.

Not a single approach can answer such a complex question.

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee replied:

Hi Jason, thanks for participating in this forum and for sharing the results obtained in naturally occurring high CO2 areas. These findings will hopefully help to show the importance of putting OA observation in a mulit-stressor perspective and to highlight the need to react now as vast areas of the ocean will be affected by OA soon. OA observation in cooperation with industries will be definitly important to conserve and protect the ocean resources, which are so important for human health and wellbeing. Best,


OBEN MBENG Lawrence's picture

OBEN MBENG Lawrence said:

Cameroon like many other countries in Sub-Sahara Africa faces many challenges in achieving target 14.3. Firstly, the concept of Ocean Acidification is not very much understood by many Cameroonians because climate change, including adaptation and mitigation measures overshadows all other discussions. Discussions of the impact and measures to minimize OA has always been limited to researchers and members of the scientific community resulting in an  important segment of the population (politicians, oil and gas companies,  the coastal communities  and NGOs  etc. ) with only a fragmented knowledge of OA. I think policy engagement through communication involving these stakeholders can play a vital role in achieving target 14.3.

Secondly, very few Cameroonians have expertise or have been trained in OA monitoring and or marine sciences. To minimize the impacts of OA, there is need for capacity building through training and networking. Notwithstanding, there is a shift in this trend with Cameroonians having participated in the Mauritius and OA Senegal training and networking events. However, training must be backed by funds, and equipment’s with standardized protocols to enable trainees and their institutes be actively involved in quality data collection.

Finally, behaviour change is a serious challenge in achieving target 14.3. I think knowledge acquired during training sessions and its implementation in field and experimental work may be short term if aspects of behavior change of all stakeholders involved in activities that negatively affect our oceans are not taken onboard. An integrated approach will certainly require behavior change experts to work in a concerted manner so that stakeholders’ activities in our oceans and cities be carried out in a sustainable manner.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

Dear Lawrence,

This is a great challenge indeed. We had a few participants from Cameroon in our trainings and some are also member of the OA-Africa network.

One of the missions of OA-Africa is to help developping sciences and awarness all over Africa. We are now working on a website and will share more information.

One way to contribute to awareness is to join the Ocean Acidification Day organized by OA-Africa:

The OA-Africa network is leading an African “ocean acidification day”. It was agreed that on the ocean day (June 8, 2017), scientists from all over Africa and in partner countries will join forced to measure pH at the same time, following the indicator of the SDG 14.3: “Average marine acidity (pH) measured at agreed suite of representative sampling stations”. This initiative led by African scientists (Folasade Adeboyejo from Nigeria & Andry Herizo Rasolomaharavo from Madagascar) and facilitated by Sam Dupont (Sweden) and Martin Le Tissier (Ireland) will be broadly communicated through a national and international press and social media campaign.

We see this as an opportunity to increase awareness in each country and build up our network.

Contact me if you want to join. We can provide more info (sam.dupont@gu.se)

I will also post more information on this threat soon.

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee replied:

Dear Lawrence, training needs a follow up and knowledge which is gained during training needs to be applied and transfered to different stakeholders to finally also change behaviour at different scales. Hopefully the SDG target 14.3 will result in actions at the scientific and policy level to facilitate these. Best, Kirsten

Adekunbi Falilu's picture

Adekunbi Falilu said:

Currently, no framework or government policy address the sensitization, impacts and mitigation of Ocean Acidification in open and coastal marine environment in Nigeria. A holistic approach to enhance awareness and appreciation of ocean acidification impacts on commercially viable finfish and shellfish species in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Nigeria will embrace and implement the enlightenment of policymakers and resource managers through plenary sessions, science and technical workshops to facilitate the adoption of a national framework on ocean acidification.

Considering the importance of fisheries resources to food security, it is thus critical to invest in extensive ocean monitoring and data collection to understand how marine resources could be impacted by ocean acidification. Regionally, In the Gulf of Guinea there is a paucity of time series stations that monitor carbonate chemistry dynamics. To achieve the SDG 14.3 target there is a need for countries to collaborate in research and establishment of regional monitoring centres for OA.

The Ocean Acidification Africa Network (OA-AFRICA) flagged off in Cape Town, South Africa in 2015 is committed to synergizing scientists and stakeholders in OA field in Africa so as to proffer adaptive capacity to mitigate ocean acidification impacts. The network will be coming up with a White Paper on the impacts and vulnerability of Africa marine ecosystem to ocean acidification. The document would be an important working document of the Network which could be launched at the Ocean Conference in June.

I’m glad to be part of this discussion

Thank you

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

OA-Africa is really active at the moment, thanks to motivated individuals like yourself. Thanks a lot

The white paper, the OA-day, etc. all will contribute to a better understanding and actions.

I am currently working with the Swedish Govnerment to have an OA-Africa exhibition at the Ocean Conference in June. Fingers crossed

Libby Jewett's picture

Libby Jewett replied:

Dear Falilu, Thank you for sharing your perspective on the situation in Nigeria. Yes, it is critical that your research objectives be aligned with national priorities, especially around those commercially important marine resources. It is great to hear about the progress you are making on the OA Africa Network and the white paper; agreed, it would be great to disseminate that paper in June or as soon as possible to raise awareness about what you are doing. Libby.

Antoine De Ramon N'Yeurt's picture

Antoine De Ramo... said:

Hello and greetings from Fiji,

Here in the South Pacific Islands region, the main challenge to appreciate the effects of OA is the lack of actual regional data on ocean carbonate chemistry. Before effective actions are undertaken to minimise and address the effects of Ocean Acidification, we need to have some baseline studies of the current state of health of the ecosystems concerned. In this respect, a priority is the setting up of reliable and consistently comparable monitoring platforms for pH / OA measurements for each of the South Pacific Island nations (Australia and New Zealand already have national programs in place) and upload quality-controlled and continuous time-series of OA measurements to appropriate online databases. We hope that the need for such efforts will be recognized and supported at the SDG14 deliberations.

Libby Jewett's picture

Libby Jewett replied:

Hi Antoine!  I am wondering how your work to monitor OA which was funded by the NZ Government is proceeding? The community might be interested in learning more about it.  It seems that these international capacity building efforts are critical for obtaining that baseline information.  Cheers, Libby

Antoine De Ramon N'Yeurt's picture

Antoine De Ramo... replied:

Hello Libby,

Nice to hear from you; the only agreement so far with NZ is for an OA water sampling training visit at NIWA under the P2P program; however we are awaiting the actual deployment of our SEAFET which has been delayed for logistical reasons here. Once our local partners are ready, we hope to start monitoring by April or May. 

Regards, Antoine

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee said:

Dear Ariel, indeed ocean acidification is a result of human activity on land, changing human behaviour is one of the biggest tasks in front of us in order to protect the ocean and marine life. Kirsten

Ariel Kozlowski's picture

Ariel Kozlowski said:

Hello! I'm from Brazil, Rio de Janeiro and the main challenges in achieving Target 14.3, as I see are four:


  1. Confront Oil and Gas industry: specially because of the discovery of pre-salt layer, puting Brazil in the 6th country with the biggest oil reserves on the Planet. Government also still subzidises the technology development to scale the extraction and many companies related.. So I don't see Brazil reducing it's contribution to ocean acidification and coral reef direct destruction in a near future.
  2. Land Use: Agriculture and livestock production are among the major sources of methane emissions in the country, here we have more than 215 million living cattle nowadays, more cattle than people!
  3. Deforestation: most reasons are atributed also to agriculture and livestock business but many realstate companies far from the forests also operates buying non certified wood, wich happens to come from illegal deforestation.
  4. Lack of Sanitary infraestructure: regardless to say, what was the XVIII century agenda, here is still missing for half of the population, and contributing to methane emissions among with waterstreams destruction and spread of diseases.

Thanks for asking!

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

Identifying the local challenges (scientific, communication, policy) is the first step. Brazil has a unique suite of local challenges to address on top of global changes such as OA.

Actually, I was a in Kuwait to teach a course on OA a couple of weeks ago and they are facing crazy challenges. The whole country is based on oil and that also leads to other crazy challenges (e.g. using large quantity of oil to desalinize water leading to emission of SOx and NOx, also contributing to local acidification.

It may sound demoralizing BUT it takes a few persons to make a difference. In Kuwait, I am working with Dr. Uddin. He is working really hard to increase the understanding of what is happening (monitoring, experiments, training, networking, etc.) and he is really making a difference. By showing that OA can contribute significantly to the quality of life (e.g. seafood in Kuwait) and showing that there are alternatives to our life choices, we can move toward the needed changes.

I know it looks overwhelming but don't give up !


Paulo Horta's picture

Paulo Horta replied:

Dear all

In Brazil (in addition), and maybe especially in the third world, we should highlight that coastal pollution, in addition with intrinsec impacts of organic and inorganic pollutants, reduce locally pH, contributin with local ocean acidification (OA). Harmfull algal blooms produce additional impact incrising organic matter abundance incriesing OA, and impact in communities of fishermans and aquacultures. The interactions (eventual sinergisms) with warming, represent our main challenge considering heat waves, each time more intense and frequent. Dispite the Brazilian government produced last year the Brazilian plan to face climate change, nothing have been did as emmergencial actions considering coastal managment.International efforts are riqueried to access this question. The maintanence of monitoring programs in nations of third world will need support from international partners to sustein long term programs. Here we have a system of coastal buoys that require this integrated participation (with diferent institutions from different nationalities) in planing and maintanence. Monitoring programs of biodiversity behavior the same. The pieces that the international community are loosing, ignoring what is happening in the third world, will be important to understand better the big picture considering OA.


Congrats for the iniciative

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee replied:

Dear Paulo,

well said! Ocean acidification is not happening in isolation and a lot of other stressors have to be taking into account. Clearly the international community needs to ensure that collaborative efforts help delevoping countries to be able to address the new challenges related to ocean acification and other anthropogenic influences affecting the marine environment. Kirsten

Ophery Ilomo's picture

Ophery Ilomo said:

Among the challenges we are facing include (but not limited to) lack of high level expertise in handling OA studies which unfortunately couples with the lack of instrumentation that can measure and give reliable, accurate and acceptable OA data, lack of funding in OA research/studies and marine research in general and low level of political will which may probably be due to the fact that the OA impacts are not so obvious to our environment and to most of policy makers. The impacts of OA seem to be more of the scientists, fishers (small and large scale) and marine experts. As the country now is striving to move to medium level industrial economy, the need to mitigate and manage impacts of OA is obligatory. We need to monitor and control greenhouse gases emission locally, regionally and globally.
Currently, in Tanzania as much as I know we had no OA observing system. This is one of the main drawbacks. Though there some marine studies that show changes in population (decreasing and increasing) and species diversity, in various ecosystems but they are mostly not correlated/linked with OA impacts.
In order to address these challenges, I propose the following should be done at all levels. First to make public awareness of OA as a phenomenon and it related impacts. In this regard, sensitization should focus to laymen, fishers, farmers, politicians, police makers, scientists and all people in the society. So that something this awareness to the society may make policy makers, politician, fishers, farmers, scientist to mention a few start thinking of the current and future OA impacts and they may probably initiate some local actions to alleviate OA impacts.
Secondly, OA is a trans-boundary problem, those developed countries with both advanced expertise and instrumentation in OA, should start working and collaborating with those countries which have not yet or they are starting to work on OA.
Thirdly, the need for global effort to ascertain the OA status and impacts in all country is vital. Collective effort should be directed to less developed country to start working on OA as a mitigation measure before the situation is beyond control. Networking is very essential in this regard.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

Money and tehcnology is always an issue.But that should not stop you.

It is possible to do very good and relevant OA research at low cost. We can keep contact if you need help for this.

Moreover, the international community is working toward ways to help. As Kirsten mentioned, you have different project (OA-Africa, Aphrica, INT from IAEA, GOA-ON) working toward cheaper and simpler technology for OA monotoring and experimentation. There will also be some little financial support for training and implementation.

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee replied:

Dear Ophery Ilomo, thanks a lot for your insights to the sitiuation in Tanzania. Your comments is very helpful in order to improve future recommendations and how to tailor OA communciation. A new regional African OA network (ApHrica) was established last year, which will hopfully be able to help and support countries in Africa in ocean acification related research. Best, Kirsten

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

Dear Fazal

You are mentioning an important issue: the lack of general ocean literacy.

This is a massive challenge in itself to make people understand that we all depends on the ocean. There are several international initiatives related to this (e.g. EMSEA in Europe) working on this.

If can send you an article that we recently published if you are interested (sam.dupont@gu.se)

Fazal Akbar's picture

Fazal Akbar said:

In Pakistan, the challenges of minimizing ocean acidification are multiple. These include increasing number of carbon emissions industries, unawareness among the masses regarding the impacts of acidification, the rapidly increasing population, low rate of lietracy among males and females, lack of proper policies, lack of monitroing mechanism and lack of proper education in the field of ocean acidification among others. 

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee replied:

Dear Fazal, thanks so much for your comment. Indeed there is still a lot of action needed at the scientific and policy level to raise awareness and to implement ocean acification observing. Clearly there is a need to expend the ongoing capacity building activities, e.g. under the umbrella of GOA-ON but definitly as well at the national level to improve the current cituation! Kirsten

Fazal Akbar's picture

Fazal Akbar replied:

Of course efforts are needed on the part of human to take action and prevent the disastrous effects of ocean accidifcation. We can reduce the burning of fossil fuels, the burning of coal for producing electricity, we can conserve electricity, can reduce transportation by abandoning own sources and using public transport system or can use fuel-efficient cars and check their tyres and servicing cars regularly, we can protect the wild-life that responds to climate change, we can monitor pollution and nutrient run-off that protects coral reefs, we can purchae products that are developed in co-existence with forests so that the need for deforestation can be reduced, we can eat sea-food for a healthy sea life and last, but not the least, we can go for green options and environment-friendly things/technology that can help in prevention of CO2 emissions.

Kirsten Isensee's picture

Kirsten Isensee said:

Welcome to the online forum on addressing ocean acidification in advance of the SDG-14 Ocean Conference that will take place in June of this year. We are very pleased to be moderating this discussion and look forward to hearing from you on this important topic.

We are very keen to receive your contributions on how the global community is responding to reducing the impacts of ocean acidification – from the perspective of the citizen all the way to government. Please feel free to make your inputs on one or all of the questions we have posed here. Under Question 1we are interested in learning about the most important challenges that exist in your country/region in regards to the impacts of ocean acidification?  Do you have observing systems in place to monitor ocean acidification and how it affects ocean health? What we can do locally/regionally and globally to address and minimize these effects?

This forum will remain open until 30th March and we will monitor the inputs and provide moderation to ensure the discussion effectively feeds makes a substantive input to be carried to the Conference in June. Summaries of the responses will be compiled at the end of the discussion period and posted on the platform.

Your voice matters!  Make it count as the global community converges in June 2017 to commit to action to realize Sustainable Development Goal 14 to sustain Life Below Water for our and future generations! 

Roshan T Ramessur's picture

Roshan T Ramessur replied:

We are now building capacity in various institutions in Mauritius with OA monitoring which includes spectrophotometric determination of pH and the use of pH sensors (iSAMI pH sensor). This follows the ApHRICA workshop in Mauritius funded by the U.S State Department, The Ocean Foundation and IAEA-OA-ICC. We are now encouraging research projects invoving both monitoring and analytical methods combined with biological experiments eg HABs, corals and seagrass ecosystems. The institutions involved are  The University of Mauritius,  Albion Fisheries Research Centre, the Ministry of Environment, the Mauritius Oceanography Institute and The Ministry of Ocean Economy are building capacity and have had participants attending OA workshops in Cape Town, Hobart, Mauritius and Ghana. The institutions will be contributing to pH data related to corals, harmful algal blooms, fisheries and aquaculture. The OA Africa network would enable the exchange of information and expertise within Africa and the Indian Ocean islands. Quality data remains an important aspect for monitoring pH and intercalibrations, maintenance of pH sensors and development of both local and regional monitoring programs will require funding.

Sam Dupont's picture

Sam Dupont replied:

Dear Roshan,

Thanks for your energy ! You are a good example of an individual making a real difference !

Dr. Balasaheb Kulkarni's picture

Dr. Balasaheb K... replied:

Best wishes for your efforts involving most of instituttions of Mauritius