Increasing acidity of seawater in Hood Canal and along the Washington Coast may be killing off the larval form of shellfish like nowhere else in the world, according to researchers studying the problem.
Such findings — with alarming implications for the shellfish industry — were the impetus for Gov. Chris Gregoire to convene a blue-ribbon panel of 25 scientists, shellfish growers and political leaders, who will examine the latest studies and make recommendations by Oct. 1.
The panel, headed by Bill Ruckelshaus and Jay Manning, was scheduled to hold its first meeting in Seattle on Friday. The agenda includes a review of the latest scientific findings and approval of a schedule for six upcoming meetings. This panel is the first in the United States to focus on regional problems related to ocean acidification, officials say.