Calling for greater research into the impact of bottom-trawling on carbon stocks, Lord (Zac) Goldsmith, Minister of State for the Pacific and Environment, opened the Blue Carbon Conference by admitting “no government can honestly claim to be doing enough.”
“While we know that bottom trawling has utterly devastated whole tracts of ocean floor, we do not yet know the full extent of its impacts on carbon… We need to step up our research, and fast,” Lord Goldsmith said.
Lord Goldsmith also announced a new Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) report on Blue Carbon and that the G7 have committed to supporting the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
The conference, curated by marine conservation charity Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), was broadcast virtually in the middle of World Ocean Week and brought together leading blue carbon practitioners, project developers, scientists, and policy makers to share progress and set ambition ahead of COP26.
Charles Clover, Co-founder and Executive Director of BLUE said: “It is clear that the ocean plays an almost unimaginably important role in mitigating against climate change. We must now redouble our efforts and raise our ambitions in both restoring and properly protecting marine habitats and key carbon sinks.
“We call on the UK Government to translate its UN climate commitment to coastal blue carbon into real-life projects and, as a matter of urgency, conduct further science into the potentially enormous scale of emissions from trawling.
“A healthy, thriving ocean is one of our most powerful tools in fixing carbon and protecting life on earth as we know it.”
The conference is available to watch in full on Blue Marine Foundation’s YouTube channel.