Native Olympia oysters are smaller than the larger, faster-growing Pacific oysters preferred by farmers. A study by Oregon State University professor George Waldbusser has found Olympia oysters make their shells much more slowly. That helps protect them from acidic water.
“Having that trait identified might give opportunity to actually breed that trait into some of the other commercial species. But it also provides some hope that not everything is going to perish in an acidified ocean,” Waldbusser said.
Olympia oysters used to grow from Baja California to Vancouver Island. But during the 1890s, they were harvested until 90 percent had disappeared. They’re now found sparingly in Yaquina, Netarts and Coos Bays.
Copyright 2016 OPB