We all know that climate destabilization harms some fish and shellfish, and forces species into cooler water. New research indicates warmer more acidic water also makes the survivors far less nourishing to eat.
Ocean warming and acidification are hurting the nutritional value—and the taste—of some seafood.
In new research, Benkendorff and her team exposed the whelk Dicathais orbita, a type of sea snail, to temperature and acidity conditions similar to those predicted for the end of the century. The results were dramatic. The whelks had decreased glycogen and lipid contents, and the amount of protein in their flesh was nearly cut in half. Other studies have shown similarly worrying effects in other shellfish, including reductions in the concentration of fatty acids.
Globally, around 250,000 tonnes of murex snails, the family to which the whelk belongs, are harvested every year. Shellfish, including snails, are an essential source of nutrients for many people around the globe, but if climate change slashes their nutrient content, their value as food will also drop.
Nutritional value is one thing, but perhaps an even more relatable quality is taste. In a novel experiment in 2014, Sam Dupont from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden exposed northern shrimp to expected future climate conditions before feeding them to a panel of 30 local connoisseurs. The shrimp exposed to acidic conditions were consistently scored lower for both appearance and taste,... [emphasis mine]