Massive die-off of oysters and scallops in Pacific Northwest: “Millions of shellfish dying” — Never seen anything like it — “By July mortality hit 95 to 100 per cent” — “Deformed shells, smaller in size” — “Cause is unknown, but ocean acidification is main suspect” (AUDIO)

Saturday, March 1, 2014
By Paul Martin

ENENews.com
February 28th, 2014

Globe and Mail, Feb. 27, 2014: Mystery surrounds massive die-off of oysters and scallops off B.C. coast [...] Something is killing oysters and scallops in dramatic numbers [...] The cause is unknown, but ocean acidification is the main suspect. [...] last year, nearby Pendrell Sound had a massive die-off of wild oysters. [...] [Rob Saunders, CEO of Island Scallops] has lost 10 million scallops over the past two years, and smaller companies have had similar problems. Mr. Saunders is pushing for a research project to find out what’s happening. [...] one of BC’s biggest suppliers of fresh seafood, said the scallop die-off has rung alarm bells.

CBC, Feb. 25, 2014: The deteriorating health of B.C.’s oceans [...] Millions of shellfish are dying off before they can be harvested at Island Scallops [...] researchers will try to determine if acidification is to blame or if other factors are at play.

Vancouver Sun, Feb. 26, 2014: Scallop operations, big and small, are reporting die-offs this year. [...] “No one — not even the researchers — expected the situation to decline this rapidly,” Saunders said. An audit of Island Scallops’ facilities early in 2013 counted three million scallops seeded in 2010 and seven million from 2011. “We started gearing up for processing,” he said. But the animals started to die soon after and by July, mortality hit 95 to 100 per cent. Other local growers faced the same fate.

Yves Perreault, president of the BC Shellfish Grower’s Association: “It’s a remote area, the water is clean … we haven’t had any environmental concerns, so I’m not sure what’s going on.”

Guy Dean, vice-president at Albion Fisheries: “It’s definitely a sign. It’s like the canary in the coal mine. That is the early indicator of climate change”

Rob Saunders, CEO of Island Scallops: “Is it a disease? Is it just strictly C02 stress or acid stress? If we don’t figure it out, then we don’t have an industry.”

Oceanside Star, Feb. 27, 2014: [A]cidity in the Pacific Ocean is decimating Vancouver Island’s farmed shellfish [...] eating holes in the shells of scallops [...] B.C. Shellfish Grower’s Association concludes that rising ocean acidity is killing oyster and scallop larvae in B.C. and Washington.

Rob Saunders, CEO of Island Scallops: “Initially, the cause was looked at as a disease [...] We couldn’t grow any larvae. About three billion of them died [...] At harvest, each hauled-up cage normally contains 300 scallops. Now, we’re getting less than five scallops per cage. These scallops have deformed shells and are smaller in size.”

CBC, Feb. 26, 2014: Mr. Saunders, you’ve been in this business for 35 years, have you ever seen anything like this? No. […] It’s the North Pacific […] hatcheries in Washington State are seeing very similar problems […] Is it a pathogen? We don’t particularly know. We’ve looked at the known pathogens and it’s not occurring. […] We’re not quite sure what the problems are. […]

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