So long, shellfish: Oysters falling victim to ocean acidification

Increasing ocean acidification has taken a big toll on Northwest oyster farms, and that could translate to a shellfish shortage.

Could seafood fans be saying goodbye to shellfish sometime soon? Millions of oyster larvae have been dying in Northwest farms due to increasingly acidic ocean waters, which robs them of their ability to grow their shells, according to ABC News. The world’s oceans are absorbing more carbon dioxide than ever as greenhouse gas emissions increase on land.

“The chemistry is very simple. It is 101. Carbon dioxide makes the water more acidic, that is irrefutable,” said Oregon State University professor of oceanography Burke Hales.

Oyster farmers Mark Wiegardt and Sue Cudd of Tilamook, Oregon’s Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery called in Hales and his team when their larvae suddently started dying. The hatchery’s 8,000 gallon tanks were pumping in water from the Pacific Ocean, which turned out to be increasingly acidic.

Stephanie Rogers, mother nature network, 29 April 2010. Full article.

1 Response to “So long, shellfish: Oysters falling victim to ocean acidification”


  1. 1 Brian Carter 5 May 2010 at 00:15

    Professor Hales,

    Just how acidic have the oceans become?
    To what degree of accuracy do we know the ‘pre-industrial’ pH of the oceans?
    What is the natural range of pH levels in the oceans of the world?
    What is the relative pH of the rain falling into the oceans?

    Would billions of dollars in research and trillions in carbon taxes help?


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