Considering the fact that humans release a lot of carbon dioxide among other greenhouses gases into the atmosphere, and that world oceans naturally absorb a significant percentage of these atmospheric gases to reduce the potential harm of global warming, marine life like shellfish, oysters, clams, and scallops among others are taking a bad hit in the ensuing acidification reactions.
This means that not only is the ocean acidification destroying shellfish and other vulnerable sea life, it will also induce some level of scarcity at your favorite seafood market or restaurant, and you can be certain that fishing communities in the Pacific Northwest, coastal Alaska, southern New England, and parts of Maine will suffer some seafood scarcity as a ripple effect of ocean acidification killing vulnerable sea life.
“There’s not a lot of room for error,” said Mike Rice, professor of fisheries and aquaculture at the University of Rhode Island, who was not associated with the report. “The data seem to show the areas of biggest risk are the cooler water areas. Areas like Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts that have a fairly robust shellfish industry need to be worrying.”
The activity of the ocean to absorb greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere is causing some seawater acidity that is destroying the larvae of some species of shellfish among others. Shellfish larvae are at serious risk because their shells are still not strong, but as soon as they mature into adulthood they develop stronger protection via their shells.
Publishing the their study in the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers state that rising water acidity has cost Oregon and Washington shellfish industries a whooping $110 million as well as endangered some 3,200 jobs. And according to Julia Ekstrom, the director of the climate adaptation program at the University of California, Davis.
“We looked at all the coasts around the United States,” Ekstrom said. “There are more places vulnerable than we previously thought. “That said, every region has a unique set of factors that makes it vulnerable. Understanding what makes you vulnerable is useful to guide how you will adapt.”
Meanwhile, shelled mollusks and marine ecosystems in Pacific Northwest and Southern Alaska continue to get exposed to the rising threat of ocean acidification, where north-central West Coast and the Gulf of Maine also feel the impact. And considering the background that 95% of US shellfish revenues come from about 10 species, then it is difficult to know the species that will disappear first.
“We need a fuller understanding of those species to understand the economic impact,” Ekstrom said. “Is it going to destroy the sea scallop industry, which is over 50 percent (of revenue)?” If that is one of the more resilient species, the effects won’t be as dramatic.”