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Acidic Seawater Threatens Shellfish

The Pacific Northwest, famous for its delectable fried oysters and succulent steamed clams, is one of several coastal “hot spots” where shellfish are subject to “acidification” — seawater whose chemistry is becoming corrosive because of greenhouse gases.

Shellfish on Acid

Whether or not you’re a fan of gulping down raw oysters doused with Tabasco, recent declines in the succulent Northwest shellfish are cause for alarm. That’s because the chemical changes in seawater that are harming oysters could have far-reaching effects on other ocean species as well.

Acid Ocean

Water that upwells seasonally along the West Coast of North America is growing increasingly acidic, according to a survey conducted in 2007 by an international team of scientists. In June, they reported finding acidified ocean water within 20 miles of the shoreline, raising concern for marine ecosystems from Canada to Mexico.