Shellfish And Global Warming

Warming oceans are putting your oysters at risk

Warming oceans are threatening one of the biggest food groups in the dining world: fresh seafood. National Geographic shares the unfortunate news that rising sea temperatures are increasing the risk of Vibrio, a bacterium that can infect shellfish, especially oysters, and those who consume them.

Andrew Pershing, a biological oceanographer explains: "In the North Atlantic, we are seeing a northern march of whole ecosystems toward the poles as the planet warms: predators, prey, and in the case of Vibrio, the parasites as well, moving with their hosts up the globe."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 27 percent of Americans who are infected with Vibrio are hospitalized for it, leading to fatalities in 4 percent of patients. Since undocumented cases are not factored in, the actual rate of infection could be even higher.

A new control plan in Maine requires oyster and clam growers and harvesters to take a class about Vibrio and how to spot it.