Marine Animals Were Cooked Alive During the Unprecedented PNW Heat Wave
As record-high temperatures blanketed the Pacific Northwest and Canada last week, countless mussels, clams, sea stars, and sea snails were essentially cooked alive while stuck on shore. Along the coast of the Salish Sea alone, which includes parts of western British Columbia and Washington state, marine biologists estimate over a billion intertidal animals died when the rocks they lived on reached temperatures above 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Such animals can typically only withstand temperatures into the high 80s to low 90s. The impact: The mass die-off of mussels and clams will temporarily affect water quality in the area as the two animals help filter the sea. Biologists do believe the mussel bed will recover in a year or two, however, they also cautioned the overall problem will only get worse as our planet continues to warm. The true aquatic death toll of the heat wave is also likely much higher, as there have been reports of “cooked” shellfish on beaches across the region.