In the latest dispatch from the environmental hellscape of our own making, the sun is cutting out the middleman and giving us cooked mussels straight from the sea. According to a report in The Guardian, a heat wave at Bodega Bay in California has roasted a bunch of mussels right in their shells.
Researcher Jackie Sones first blogged about the situation in June, writing, “we think this is the most significant mussel mortality we’ve seen on Bodega Head during the last 15 years,” acknowledging a similar event that happened in 2004. California mussels have been foraged by humans in the area for hundreds of years, and are typically recreationally harvested in the area, whether for food or for bait. They are also are a key component of the ecosystem in Northern California, and their die-off could affect the whole region. “Mussels are known as a foundation species,” Sones told the Guardian. “The equivalent are the trees in a forest — they provide shelter and habitat for a lot of animals, so when you impact that core habitat it ripples throughout the rest of the system.”
Though shellfish being literally cooked alive feels like a new one for climate change, edible ocean life has been drastically affected already. Acidic water has caused oyster die-offs in the Pacific Northwest, and on the East Coast climate change has caused numerous populations of shellfish to decline. Organizations like the Billion Oyster Project are attempting to restore shellfish reefs, which also filter pollutants out of the water, but the prospect of those turning into Oysters Rockefeller certainly makes things more terrifying.
Anyway, this will just keep happening and is one of many reasons America needs a Green New Deal.