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California shellfish farmers seek ways to adapt to ocean acidification

View: 10 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2022-07-11 Origin: site

Thanks to its proximity to the ocean, California residents can enjoy locally sourced oysters, mussels, abalone and clams, mostly from coastal farms.
California shellfish farmers seek ways to adapt to ocean acidification

These shellfish are filter feeders, they suck tiny plankton from the seawater, and the environment in which they are raised must be sustainable, but the increasing acidity of the ocean due to increased greenhouse gas emissions is not conducive to shellfish. growth.


In a new study, researchers at San Diego State University and Oregon State University interviewed California shellfish farmers about how they perceive ocean acidification and what strategies they believe will help adapt to changing environmental conditions.

San Diego State University researcher Melissa Ward said farmers are on the front lines of observing climate change, and they are best positioned to describe what they think they need to adapt to those changes.

Research shows that burning coal, oil and natural gas emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, with about a third of that being absorbed by the oceans, lowering the pH, and as the water becomes more acidic, the shellfish need Calcium carbonate is becoming less and less.

Most shellfish are initially hatched on land farms, when they are the size of a fingernail, they are transferred to breeding ponds that float in the ocean, and if the water is acidic, the small shellfish may grow more slowly or even die, Makes it harder for farms to survive.

While farmers are concerned about the impact of ocean acidification on their operations, they often lack the scientific instruments to know when ocean acidification will occur, etc. Farmers are also concerned about other environmental threats, such as rising water temperatures, heavy rainfall and pollution, which can contribute to marine disease the spread of toxic algal blooms.

Melissa Ward said that sometimes farmers lose 90 to 100 percent of their shellfish in a given area, and they don't know why. Many farmers say they need access to scientific resources to identify environmental factors that contribute to mass mortality events and ways to prevent them.

All shellfish farmers agree that regulatory and licensing requirements for shellfish operations need to be adjusted to adapt to rapidly changing environments, for example, it may be wise to raise a new species of shellfish that is better adapted to ocean acidification, but Obtaining the required licenses can be a hassle.

Melissa Ward said California may be the most difficult state to obtain a shellfish aquaculture  license, and while the government recognizes that shellfish farming is sustainable and an opportunity for economic growth, farmers can take years and dozens of $10,000 to obtain a breeding license for a new species.

Another adaptation strategy proposed by shellfish farmers is the need for more “networking opportunities” not only to interact with other farmers, but also to share information and access best practices for adaptation to environmental changes with managers, scientists and policymakers.

The study, published in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management, is what researchers hope will serve as a roadmap for improving the resilience of California's aquaculture industry.