Oysters Rockefeller, Clams Casino to Become Scarce in 50 Years
June 17, 2009
(ChattahBox)— The shellfish dinners we have become accustomed to enjoying, especially dishes like Oysters Rockefeller and Clams Casino may be hard to come by 50 years from now, as the effects of global warming increases the acidity of our oceans, significantly reducing the shellfish population, coral reefs and other marine life.
Marine scientists predict that increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will continue to produce a corrosive environment for marine life.
Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution calculated the economic effects of ocean acidification over the next 50 years. The researchers discovered that mollusks, such as oysters, clams and mussels are particularly susceptible to the effects of the increased acidity levels of the oceans.
Why is the ocean taking the brunt of CO2 emissions? The oceans actually helps to filter out and absorb about one-third of all human-generated carbon emissions emitted into the air, slowing down the effects of global warming on our environment.
However, the CO2 levels have also steadily increased over the years, due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, making it near impossible for the oceans to absorb all of the greenhouse gases, which results in severe ocean acidification.
The acidification of our oceans can have far reaching results, not only harming shellfish, but also the marine life that feed off the shellfish.
In 50 years the researchers predict that U.S. mollusk harvests would drop 10 to 25 percent, as well as significant losses of predatory fish and other marine life that depend on mollusks for food.
The economic consequences of an acidic ocean will be severe, causing job losses in the fishing industry, with losses of $1.4 billion by mollusk harvesters alone, by 2060. Mollusk sales comprise nearly 20 percent of the total U.S. fisheries revenue. Losing mollusks sales could devastate many fishing communities that depend on fishing for their livelihoods.
The researchers say communities can help to stem the drive towards ocean acidification, by taking steps to prevent nutrient land runoff draining into oceans.
Still, don’t expect to see your favorite oyster and clam dishes on restaurant menus in abundance in the future and the prices for such delicacies will certainly rise.