Over 40 participants from 9 countries gathered in Phuket to review the progress made over the last year in setting up the regional monitoring network studying the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems in the Western Pacific.

The event that took place on 14-15 December 2017, is the fourth regional workshop convened by WESTPAC in order to step up joint efforts in deploying a joint ocean acidification monitoring network in the region which was initiated in 2015.

“Our scientific community shall strive to provide reliable scientific information to inform decisions,” Wenxi Zhu from the WESTPAC office stressed, “Being responsible for the country and region we are living in and people we are living with, we must move substantive steps forward in combating ocean acidification, despite various challenges.”

Processing Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS)
“Ocean acidification (OA) has been here and will get worse without concerted actions to stop the root cause,” – echoed by Russel Brainard from the US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and all participants at the workshop.

The two-day workshop saw a steady progress over the last year. In addition to main Standard Operating Procedures being finalized and to be published online, most of participating countries have been taking a great step forward in developing OA monitoring systems at their selected OA pilot sites. Some countries such as China, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand have already implementing the SOPs, while others including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam just secured budgets and are ready to start the monitoring programme. Moreover, the 4th OA Workshop featured the latest development of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON), the indicator development for SDG 14.3; and the OA monitoring programme in the subpolar coastal region.

All participants finally elaborated on a workplan for 2018. Proposed activities, including national SOPs training workshop, mutual learning and study visits among OA pilot sites, inter-calibration between labs will be a focus for WESTPAC to take actions in 2018.

This workshop is part of WESTPAC’s efforts to fulfil its voluntary commitment, in response to the “Global Call for Action” to support Goal 14, aims to continue developing and strengthening countries capacity for research and monitoring the ecological impacts of ocean acidification on coral reef ecosystems. Please refer to https://oceanconference.un.org/commitments/?id=15274