Protect Our Oceans

Shellfish in Oregon are struggling and scientists aren’t sure why

This summer has been tough for many ocean critters in the Pacific Northwest, particularly Oregon's mussels. The reason isn't exactly clear.


Atlantic Ocean beach
liliy2025 |
Ocean waves crashing along the coastline.

Off the Oregon coast, towering kelp forests flow with the current, seabirds dive into the waves to feed on crustaceans and whales and seals swim seamlessly in the depths. Unfortunately, this summer has been tough for many of the species here, particularly a type of shellfish called mussels.

Research teams from Oregon State University have found that this critter is dying off at an alarming rate, and they aren’t sure why. So far, they’ve collected samples of healthy and unhealthy groups and are comparing them to uncover what’s going on. They suspect that the mussels may been poisoned by an increased number of phytoplankton in the water, but only time will tell.

Although not a cause for panic yet, this news could spell problems for animals like seabirds that rely on mussels as a staple in their diet.

It’s important that we do all we can to foster healthy ocean ecosystems, and that’s why we are working to conserve marine areas in the Pacific Northwest.

You can read more about this issue and what the research team is doing here.

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