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Millions of scallops are dying off before they can be harvested in the waters near Qualicum Beach, British Columbia (BC), due to an increase in ocean acidity levels.

Growing carbon dioxide emissions are being absorbed by ocean waters, thus reducing their pH level.

“When the pH goes down, it’s a lot harder to build that shell and we’ve seen that in a lot of other species in the lab,” said Chris Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia, “It interferes with everything they do, their basic physiology is affected,” he added, Vancouver Sun reports.

Shellfish and marine fish hatchery, Island Scallops, based in Nanaimo, has been forced to dismiss 20 employees, 30 per cent of its workforce, because of the high acidity aftermath.

The company’s CEO, Rob Saunders, said the company has lost three years worth of scallops and USD10 million, since high mortality started to be noticed.

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