Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Under the Dome": Chinese air pollution, CO2, Ocean Acidification and Geoduck Profits

The Chinese equivalent of "Silent Spring"
Smog in Wuhan, China
Where does that CO2 drift off to?
The New York Times reports on a Chinese film documentary titled "Under the Dome", a film on China's air pollution, termed "catastrophic." This documentary became viral in China, spreading throughout the country, viewed by millions wanting to know more about the obvious: China has some of the worst air pollution in the world. Viral until Friday, when "...major Chinese video websites deleted it under orders from the Communist Party’s central propaganda department."
It's not rocket science.
Fewer carbonate ions = less calcification.
Smog, a relative term, does have as a major component, CO2. Prevailing westward winds shift those air masses of CO2 over the Pacific Ocean, where much of the CO2 is absorbed. Through a chemical process CO2 breaks down and carbonate ions are bonded to form a new molecular structure, removing those ions needed for calcification. A picture of the process is seen above, a verbal explanation is seen below. It seems to be an accepted fact by the shellfish industry that CO2, whatever the source, is causing them a problem.
As a result, the shellfish industry claims it is in a state of near crisis, which may be the case. It appears that larvae of the non-native Pacific oyster cannot form shell because of the diminished supply of carbonate ions. Millions of federal and state funds are being supplied to the shellfish industry and universities in an attempt to help create more shellfish "seed" for their hoped for expansion. Once larvae have made it past their "incubation" stage they are then able to use up whatever supply of carbonate ions there may be, resulting in growth, albeit more slowly. Increasing the number of shellfish will, however, naturally decrease the number of carbonate ions available, for everything.
What about me? Do I get any government help?
Pteropod, at the base of the food chain.
Wait - there's more.
But, it is not only the non-native Pacific oyster which is in need of help. There are thousands of other marine species who are also in need of those diminished carbonate ions. Whether it be the shell of pteropods, a Dungeness crab or the skeleton of salmon, carbonate ions are needed throughout the diversity of life which exists in Puget Sound's marine waters. Non-native Pacific oyster "production" will use up that supply, leaving native species to fend for themselves.
What do you mean you don't like
a higher aragonite saturation level?
Complicating matters, however, is something pointed out by Bill Dewey with Taylor Shellfish in the January 20 edition of Hatchery International. In an article titled "Strategies to thwart ocean acidification" about how Taylor Shellfish is dealing with ocean acidification, it notes Taylor is making "...progress by keeping a very close watch on seawater chemistry and adding water treatment systems in the hatcheries." Mr. Dewey, however, points out an interesting observation when those same methods used to increase survival of the non-native Pacific oyster are used on the native geoduck. The article writes:
Dewey explained that with geoduck clams, it appears to be an overabundant ramping-up of aragonite in the water that is preventing the tiny geoduck cells from forming protective shells once they’re fertilized. That causes the ova to develop deformed and to die – usually within the first 48 hours post-fertilization.
Beyond Taylor Shellfish apparently being unsure of why geoduck don't like the modified water the non-native Pacific oyster do, the industry so impacted by Ocean Acidification has no problem profiting from the country which is most likely the biggest source of their problem: China. The industry may find that threatening to withhold the perceived source of male virility in China may give the Chinese the manhood needed to tell industry it is time to stop polluting the air, in turn the Pacific Ocean, and in turn acidifying Puget Sound.


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