Ocean acidification isn’t limited to Washington’s waters. The phenomenon is striking more than a dozen other “bioregions” along the U.S. coastline, threatening to disrupt local shellfish industries from southern Massachusetts and Virginia to swampy Louisiana and southern Alaska, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The economic implications could be vast. In the Pacific Northwest alone, acidification already cost the oyster industry an estimated $110 million and jeopardized thousands of jobs, according to a Washington state science panel.
Oceans have so far absorbed about one-fourth to one-third of all man-made carbon emissions, scientists estimate. As the U.S. and other countries burn more oil, coal and natural gas for energy, the ocean could become an increasingly hostile home for marine life.
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