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Ocean acidification may put Northwest Dungeness crab at risk

May 19, 2016
Dungeness crabs caught by fisherman Josh Churchman

A new study from the NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle shows that ocean acidification may slow development and reduce survival of the larval stages of Dungeness crabs.
 
The study indicates that increased acidity (lower pH levels) in waters along the West Coast, due to the presence of greenhouse gases, could put the crab population in peril. Acidity increases as the ocean absorbs more and more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
 
Dungeness crab fisheries generate a large source of revenue for west coast states – the 2014 harvest was valued at approximately $80 million in Washington, $48 million in Oregon and $67 million in California.