The Dungeness crab fishery could decline West Coastwide, a new study has found, threatening a fishing industry worth nearly a quarter-billion dollars a year.

Scientists at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle found that pH levels likely in West Coast waters by 2100 at current rates of greenhouse-gas pollution would hurt the survivability of crab larvae.

Increasing ocean acidification is predicted to harm a wide range of sea life unable to properly form calcium carbonate shells as the pH drops. Now scientists at the NOAA’s Northwest Fishery Science Center of Seattle also have learned that animals with chiton shells — specifically Dungeness crabs — are affected, because the change in water chemistry affects their metabolism.

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