Acidic water blamed for West Coast scallop die-off


Ten million scallops that have died in the waters near Qualicum Beach due to rising ocean acidity are the latest victims in a series of marine die-offs that have plagued the West Coast for a decade.

Human-caused carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere are being absorbed by the ocean and may have pushed local waters through a “tipping point” of acidity beyond which shellfish cannot survive, according to Chris Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of B.C.

Rising ocean acidity is a global phenomenon, made worse by higher natural acidity in local waters, Harley said.

“I’ve seen pH measured down to about 7.2, so this is very much within the realm of possibility, though unfortunate and extreme,” he said. “We are in a hot spot in the Pacific Northwest.”

The lower the pH, the higher the acidity. Local waters are typically a much-less-acidic 8.2.

High acidity interferes with the ability of baby scallops to form a protective shell, forcing them to expend more energy and making them more vulnerable to predators and infection.

The consequences of poor stewardship.


One can’t help wondering about this, particularly since every natural phenomenon is claimed to be due to manmade global warming, no matter what other factors may be involved.

One thing about west coast waters is that environmental and wildlife protections have greatly changed the composition of the fauna over the last several decades. Sea otters and fur seals are stringently protected, so they decimate the shellfish. But they’re not protected against sharks, so Great Whites which feed on both proliferate and bite the occasional surfer as well.


I am concerned for the ecosystem, especially the natural habitats and less the man made ones – but I care less about this because I do not eat scallops.

Can’t ‘they’ just make scallop beds our tanks as is done for oysters, which would create more jobs, repopulate the scallops, and be done with it?


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