greece: Extreme heat ravages Greece’s mussel harvest – Times of India

THERMAIC GULF: Fisherman Stefanos Sougioultzis cracks open the mussels he cultivated in Greece‘s Aegean Sea solely to seek out scores of empty shells. After a summer season of scorching heat and warming waters, it was “as if they boiled in their own environment”, he says.
“Twenty-five years in mussel farming, we did not expect, we could not imagine this,” Sougioultzis stated aboard his boat within the Thermaic Gulf close to Thessaloniki in northern Greece, the nation’s most important mussel producing area.
Local authorities say about 50% of this yr’s manufacturing was destroyed as Greece confronted its worst heatwave in a long time. About 90% of the child mussel seed that will develop into subsequent yr’s manufacturing additionally died.
“When people were saying ‘what a nice warm sea we have’, we were living through a nightmare,” Sougioultzis stated.
He pulled from the ocean clusters of mussels grown over the past 18 months, coated in a thick white mass one scientist recognized as a sort of tube worm, a marine worm that adheres onto the mussels in excessive temperatures and progressively kills them.
“It is the first time I witness such a phenomenon,” stated Konstantinos Vervitis, president of the native shellfishing affiliation Poseidon, which represents about 90 mussel farming households, a couple of third of the area’s producers.
“Any damage we had in the past was manageable. This year it looks like climate change is here. The climate crisis is here,” he stated.
Temperatures rose above 45 levels Celsius in Greece in July and sea temperatures hit 28 levels.
In excessive temperatures, mussels undergo heat stress, stated Basile Michaelides, professor of animal physiology on the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, whose experience consists of the impression of international warming on marine life.
“If this situation continues and it continues to worsen, then we will see extreme phenomena in the future,” he stated. “We must constantly be on alert.”
Together with Italy, France and Spain, Greece is one of the world’s most important producers of the Mediterranean mussel, identified for its excessive meat content material, and it exports most of its manufacturing.
Greece produced about 23,000 tonnes of farmed mussels in 2020, official knowledge reveals, however suffered successful because the Coronavirus pandemic damage tourism and demand from its most important markets Italy and Spain, stated Kostas Gioutikas, a regional deputy governor in cost of progress and setting.
“The gulf is in danger of having no mussel farmers in the coming years – a region that cultivates 85% of national production. Things are really very difficult,” he stated.
Restaurants throughout Greece felt the pinch. Some tavernas took mussels off the menu in August as a result of of the brief provide.
“We would hear about climate change on TV,” stated Eleftherios Stouraitis, a restaurant proprietor in Athens. “No one believed, no one expected, that it would knock on our door.”
Back within the gulf, Vervitis, the president of Poseidon, stated the federal government wanted to urgently compensate the fishermen for his or her losses as a result of there was little else they may do.
“We are forced to stay here and fight,” he stated. “All our life’s efforts are here.”

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