Millions of shellfish boiled alive due to Pacific Northwest heat wave, harming ecosystem and businesses

  • 24 Jul - 30 Jul, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

The ripple effect of climate change is now more apparent than ever in the Pacific Northwest. Amid a recent heat wave that wreaked havoc in the area and parts of Canada, millions of shellfish were cooked alive off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia. It got worse each day of the heat wave, which in some places surpassed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The effects of marine life death in these numbers can have many effects, from water quality issues (mussels and clams can help filter seawater) to food chain issues for migratory birds. Also affected is the local fishing and seafood industry, as the typical beach oyster production cycle takes two to three years. According to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the world will lose 17 per cent of all marine life by the end of the century. The Pacific Northwest heat wave also claimed a number of human lives, with more than 100 heat-related deaths reported in British Columbia as of late June. The death toll has since risen to 719, with the majority of those dead being elderly and living alone.