"Alaska’s Oyster Farmers Are Filling an Acidification-Driven Void"

"The state’s oyster farming industry is gaining ground as growers elsewhere struggle."

"On a float house in Ketchikan’s George Inlet, dozens of cylindrical tanks teem with oyster larvae that range from tiny specks to small pebbles. These larvae number around 15 million, and once they’re done growing in the cold Alaskan waters, they’ll be sent to market across the state.

As the Pacific Ocean acidifies—a consequence of carbon emissions—oyster farms off California, Washington State, and British Columbia have struggled to get larvae to grow into seed, the stage when young oysters’ shells have formed. Though scientists are not quite sure why, the water off Southeast Alaska hasn’t seen the same deleterious effects. Now, entrepreneurs and investors are eyeing the state, looking to turn a profit off the short-lived gains of climate change.

Until recently, the major choke point for the Alaskan oyster industry was the limited availability of oyster seed. While adult oysters grow well in the cool Alaskan water, the temperature is too brisk for them to reproduce naturally. Any oyster farmer trying to get into the game had to import larvae or seed from hatcheries farther down the coast."

Gloria Dickie reports for Hakai October 12, 2017.

Source: Hakai, 10/12/2017