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Ten million scallops that have died in the waters near Qualicum Beach due to rising ocean acidity are the latest victims in a series of marine die-offs that have plagued the West Coast for a decade.
“I’ve seen pH measured down to about 7.2, so this is very much within the realm of possibility, though unfortunate and extreme,” he said. “We are in a hot spot in the Pacific Northwest.” The lower the pH, the higher the acidity. Local waters are typically a much-less-acidic 8.2. High acidity interferes with the ability of baby scallops to form a protective shell, forcing them to expend more energy and making them more vulnerable to predators and infection. “When the pH goes down, it’s a lot harder to build that shell and we’ve seen that in a lot of other species in the lab,” said Harley. “It interferes with everything they do, their basic physiology is affected".
This is happening world-wide. Barrier reefs, all manner of shell fish, between over-fishing and acidification we're looking at literally killing the oceans.