About six years ago, production at some Pacific Northwest oyster hatcheries began declining at an alarming rate, posing severe economic impact and challenging a way of life held by shellfish growers for more than 130 years.
By 2008, the oyster harvest at Whiskey Creek, a major Oregon supplier to the majority of West Coast oyster farmers, plummeted 80 percent. At about the same time, corrosive, acidified seawater was hitting the shores of the Pacific.
NOAA is providing a grant of $1.4 million over three years to help shellfish growers and scientific experts work together to expand ocean acidification (OA) monitoring in waters that are particularly important to Pacific coast communities such as in oyster hatcheries and coastal waters where young oysters are grown.
Shellfish growers, hatchery owners and scientists will work together to strengthen their understanding of and ability to adapt to the impacts of ocean acidification on the Pacific Coast of the US, including Alaska. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, which are being absorbed by the ocean, are causing a change in ocean chemistry which has already been detected along this coast.