Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

The Plight of the Oysters

oysterAs reported by The Seattle Times, oysters along the west coast are in trouble. They’ve been struggling to survive since 2005, due to carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel emissions and a drop in pH levels. Years in the making, this emerging ocean acidification is the product of low pH water which naturally occurred hundreds of feet down several decades ago. Due to the way in which the ocean circulates, the corrosive water has since risen at a swifter rate than expected, and it’s getting closer and closer to the surface, some of it already making an impact on under-the-radar marine life, such as oysters.

The fear is that even if emissions are halted, West Coast sea chemistry would still grow worse for several decades before peaking. Right now, all solutions seem to be temporary in regards to oyster well-being, like growers crushing up shells and adding chemicals to the water to make it less corrosive, and Shellfish geneticists working on breeding new classes of oysters more resistant to low pH water. The only long-term hope of hatcheries and activists is that of a heightened awareness in the years to come-more recognition from the government and more education in schools focused on changing sea chemistry. Other than that, it’s just another reason to live as green as possible, reducing all we can the already likely damage to take place.

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