SEATTLE -- Go down to Seattle's Pike Place Market, or any place you can buy fresh seafood, and take a walk past the oysters and the clams.
They are all threatened by what scientists sayis the unbalance between acidity and alkalinity in the oceans. Experts say it happens as the oceans, which cover most of the Earth's surface, absorb carbon dioxide into the water.
Scientists explain it as acting like a soft drink, driving down a shellfish's pH levels. ACoke issafe for us to drink, butif you were an oyster sitting on the bottom of the bottle, eventually your shell woulddissolve.
As part of Washington's Shellfish Initiative, Governor Chris Gregoire approved a Blue Ribbon Panel consisting of leading tribal, state, federal and local policy makers; scientific experts; public opinion leaders; and industry representatives, to look into the matter.
The panel will begin meeting formally Friday morning at theNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.