10 million scallops are dead; Qualicum company lays off staff

Island Scallops in Qualicum Bay said it has suffered $10 million in losses because of high acidity levels in the Georgia Strait.
— image credit: JOHN HARDING PHOTO

High acid levels in the waters around Parksville Qualicum Beach have killed 10 million scallops and forced a local shellfish producer to scale operations back considerably.

Island Scallops CEO Rob Saunders said the company has lost three years worth of scallops and $10 million.

“I’m not sure we are going to stay alive and I’m not sure the oyster industry is going to stay alive,” Saunders told The NEWS. “It’s that dramatic.”

Saunders said the carbon dioxide levels have increased dramatically in the waters of the Georgia Strait, forcing the PH levels to 7.3 from their norm of 8.1 or 8.2. Island Scallops seeds its animals at its hatchery in Qualicum Bay and they are reared in the ocean in small net cages attached to horizontal “longlines,” according to the company’s website. The longlines are submerged about 10 metres below the surface in water about 30 metres deep. From hatchery to harvest takes about three years. Saunders said the company has lost all the scallops put in the ocean in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“(The high acidity level means the scallops) can’t make their shells and they are less robust and they are suseptible to infection,” said Saunders, who also said this level of PH in the water is not something he’s seen in his 35 years of shellfish farming.

Read more at The Parksville Qualicum Beach News

One of the most serious consequences of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels due to the burning of fossil fuels is acidification of the Earth’s oceans. Most scientists believe that it is already too late to reverse the trend.

There is an interesting and worthwhile discussion in the commentary section following the article. I recommend it.

One thought on “10 million scallops are dead; Qualicum company lays off staff

  1. There’s no way I’d eat a slimy oily oyster, especially one that came from a company called Qualicum…..and a shell oil symbol to boot.

    But for those who love them, this is terrible. I don’t really see how spending money on research will help much. They’re not going to be able to change the PH of the ocean.

    This warning event is going to have serious effects on our seafood supply down the road.

    I’ve been eating salmon for 20 years, bought from a frozen food delivery company. It’s supposedly Alaskan caught, but who really knows for sure.

    I haven’t gotten sick from it, so I’ll stick with it.

    I guess I’ll have to eat less seafood and eat more red meat….wait, that’s not good either…oh well there’s always…..BACON!

    Liked by 1 person

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