Warming hurting shellfish, aiding predators, ruining habitat

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Valuable species of shellfish have become harder to find on the East Coast because of degraded habitat caused by a warming environment.

That’s the conclusion a pair of scientists reached in studying the decline in harvest of four commercially important species of shellfish in coastal areas from Maine to North Carolina. The scientists say their work shows change in the climate and environment, and not overfishing, is the reason for the shellfish decline.

The lead author of the study is Clyde MacKenzie, a shellfish researcher for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration based in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. The work focused on eastern oysters, northern quahogs, softshell clams and northern bay scallops.

MacKenzie says one of the ways warming has negatively impacted shellfish is by making them more susceptible to predators.

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