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Home > Feature Articles > Food Processing for Sustainable, Local, Organic and Effective Food Distribution

Shellfish, Including Oysters, Endangered on California Shoreline

Conservation of marine habitat is critical to saving endangered shellfish populations such as popular mollusks including oysters and abalone.

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As an avid naturalist who not only collects native "seashells" but studies the habitat and population trends for mollusks, I've been noticing a marked decline in shells in Santa Monica Bay. I spoke with a marine scientist at EPA recently about these anecdotal observations and she referred me to a local bay conservation group. I'm trying to follow up on that source of information, but I'm finding it problematic for "citizen scientists" to connect with nonprofits who work on local issues.

But in the meantime, one of my valued readers sent me a link to the following research report that verifies my anecdotal findings. Our mollusks are in decline... and the California coastal populations of some species are in "functional extinction".

This is a clarion call for the health of our marine ecosystem habitat! Mollusks serve the role of the "canary in the coal mine" for ecosystem health detection.

Marine habitat loss is causing a decline in shellfish populations, which is having an adverse knock-on effect on sensitive ecosystems, a study suggests.

Described as the first global assessment of its kind, it warns that 85% of the world's oyster reefs have already been lost.

The findings, published by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), adds that many other reefs are now "functionally extinct".

It blames poor fishing practices and coastal developments for the declines.

Among the report's recommendations were to elevate native, wild oysters as a priority species for conservation, and ensuring existing protection policies were extended to include the vulnerable reefs.

Global oyster reef conditions

Read more about Shellfish Endangered Species at BBC

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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