Goodbye, marine species

Trump administration’s policies will wreak havoc on the ocean and its food web

The author, a Paradise resident, is a wildlife biologist with 50 years of field experience.

How many of you landlubbers like seafood, as do I? Salmon, halibut, shrimp, crab, etc. All tasty—all from our coastal waters. Well, seafood aficionados, take heed:

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found that over 50 percent of the small snails they studied off our West Coast showed signs of severe shell damage. The agency’s data indicate that corrosive water off the coast, where it is most acidic due to high concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, is dissolving the shells of the snail—a key species in the coastal marine food chain. Salmon, herring and many other species rely on a snail-rich diet.

The scientists believe the problem is only going to get worse. They predict that by 2050 about 70 percent of West Coast snails could have severely damaged shells, affecting their viability. The only clear fix would be to reduce carbon emissions and let the ocean begin to heal itself.

Yet, the forthcoming Trump administration claims it will “make America energy independent” by encouraging fossil fuel production and opening onshore and offshore leasing on federal lands and waters to producers. His new cabinet plans to “streamline” the permitting process for all energy projects; rescind the coal-mining lease moratorium; eliminate the “Waters of the United States” rule; but assures us it will have “no measurable effect on Earth’s climate.” Oh, really?

In addition, Trump’s crew claims to be “firmly committed to conserving our wonderful natural resources and beautiful natural habitats” and that “America’s environmental agenda will be guided by true specialists in conservation, not those with radical political agendas.”

And let us all celebrate that the Tooth Fairy is alive and well.

If the snail goes, the marine food chain collapses. There is no “over-the-hill” solution. So, I suggest you begin to wean yourself off seafood ASAP if you believe you’ll outlive the collapse of the marine food web.