Ocean changes affect WA shellfish

You may not think of seeds when you think of oysters, but that’s what oyster larvae are, and local fishermen are seeing a major increase in the death toll of these seed oysters. The first sign of trouble, says Bill Dewey, policy and communications director for Taylor Shellfish Farms, was in 2005 when natural oyster beds started failing. Since then, he says, the problem has progressed to hatcheries all along the West Coast.

“In 2008 our oyster larvae production was off 60 percent. In 2009 it was off 80 percent. The industry had a seed crisis on their hands.”

Dewey says shellfish are a $100 million industry for Washington, with oysters accounting for $58 million. Carbon dioxide pollution from burning of fossil fuels is making local waters more acidic, he says, and that acid is eating through the shells of baby oysters, making it impossible for them to survive.

Dewey says 77 tons of carbon dioxide are pumped into the air every day worldwide, which has particular effects on Puget Sound and waters off the West Coast.

“Where we’ve got this upwelling phenomenon off our coast that brings the deep ocean waters to the surface, and waters that have been absorbing CO2 for decades are corrosive, and because of that they are dissolving our baby oysters, causing us problems.”

 

Mike Clifford, Mason Couny Daily News, 14 October 2011. Article.

1 Response to “Ocean changes affect WA shellfish”


  1. 1 John 15 November 2011 at 23:48

    The article says: “Where we’ve got this upwelling phenomenon off our coast that brings the deep ocean waters to the surface, and waters that have been absorbing CO2 for decades are corrosive, and because of that they are dissolving our baby oysters, causing us problems.”

    I had the impression that deep waters in the region were those that have been isolated from surface waters for hundreds of years. Is the article’s implication true that deep waters have picked up relatively recent CO2 and are more acidic as a result?


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