LETTER: A yes vote on Initiative 732 our best way of preserving fisheries

We’ve got trouble, right here in Clallam County, that starts with T that rhymes with C and that stands for CO2.

That should be of concern to any business that relies directly or indirectly upon our marine resources including shellfish, crab and salmon.

Roughly 30 percent of carbon emitted by humans is absorbed by the ocean.

CO2 reacts with water to lower pH levels, forming carbonic acid.

This chemistry prevents organisms in their larval stage such as oysters and zooplankton from developing a shell.

A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center reveals that “crab larvae (zoae) were three times more likely to die when exposed to a pH that can already be found in Puget Sound.”

When a pH of 7.5 has occurred, survival for zoae is at 14 percent.

By 2050, pH levels are forecast to be reduced from 8.0 to 7.8, dropping lower during coastal upwelling.

Herring and sable fish are feedstock for salmon. They rely on pteropods, zoae and krill, which are negatively impacted by oceanic acidification.

In 2012, salmon harvest was valued at $302 million, according to NOAA Fisheries.

Recreational and sport fishing in 2011 was valued at over $594 million, according to the American Sport Fishing Association.

Our shellfish is valued at over $100 million and crab at over $61 million, according to NOAA.

Allowing the release of more CO2 will hasten the end of our fisheries.

Putting a price on carbon and using clean energy will lower these emissions.

Vote yes on Initiative 732, our best hope of saving fisheries, jobs, a way of life.

Brian Grad,

Sequim