Marine Life & Conservation
The ocean’s solution to the climate emergency
The Marine Conservation Society has released a new report in partnership with Rewilding Britain. Blue Carbon – Ocean-based solutions to fight the climate crisis outlines the importance of the UK’s seas in helping the UK to reach its goal of net zero by 2050, and 2045 for Scotland.
In order to reach net zero, the quantity of carbon dioxide taken from the atmosphere and stored in natural solutions must increase. By protecting and rewilding ecosystems in our ocean, blue carbon stores will have increased capacity and ability to store carbon.
The significant role of the world’s forests in helping to reduce carbon emissions has been formally recognised through numerous initiatives and reforesting projects intended to keep carbon locked into the world’s forests on land. Unfortunately, equivalent solutions in the ocean are often overlooked. In order to reach its goal of net zero by 2050, the UK must look to blue carbon solutions in tandem with those on land.
What is blue carbon?
Marine ecosystems like seagrass meadows, saltmarshes and mangroves absorb or ‘draw down’ carbon from the water and atmosphere, just like plants and trees on land. The storage of carbon in marine habitats is called blue carbon. The storage of blue carbon can be in the plants themselves, like seaweed and seagrass; in the seafloor sediment where plants are rooted; or even in the animals which live in the water, including seabirds, fish and larger mammals. Blue carbon is simply carbon absorbed from the water and atmosphere stored in the world’s blue spaces.
Dr Chris Tuckett, Director of Programmes at the Marine Conservation Society: “Carbon contained in marine and coastal ecosystems must be considered in the same way as our woodlands and peatbogs…critical to the UK’s carbon strategy. Our report outlines how vital blue carbon solutions are to an effective strategy which reaches net zero by 2050.
“We’re calling on the UK Government and devolved administrations to act with urgency to invest in, co-develop and implement a four nation Blue Carbon Strategy.”
The suggested strategy focuses on three key action areas:
– Scaling up marine rewilding for biodiversity and blue carbon benefits
– Integrating blue carbon protection and recovery into climate mitigation and environmental management policies
– Working with the private sector to develop and support sustainable and innovative low-carbon commercial fisheries and aquaculture.
Globally, the rewilding of key blue carbon securing marine and coastal ecosystems such as seagrass beds, saltmarshes and mangroves could deliver carbon dioxide mitigation amounting to 1.83 billion tonnes. That is 5% of the emissions savings we need to make globally. This figure doesn’t include the enormous quantities of carbon stored in fish and other marine life; in marine ecosystems such as coral reefs, seaweeds and shellfish beds; or the vast stores of carbon in our seabed sediments.
Rebecca Wrigley, Rewilding Britain’s Chief Executive: “We’re calling for the rewilding and protection of at least 30% of Britain’s seas by 2030. Allowing a rich rainbow of underwater habitats and their sealife to recover offers huge opportunities for tackling the nature and climate crises, and for benefiting people’s livelihoods,”
“From Dornoch Firth to Lyme Bay, inspiring projects are leading the way by restoring critically important seagrass meadows, kelp forests and oyster beds. Combined with the exclusion of bottom towed trawling and dredging, such initiatives offer hope and a blueprint for bringing our precious seas back to health.”
Later this year, the UK will be hosting COP26 – the UN Climate Change Conference – in Glasgow. The conference brings together world leaders to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The ocean and its blue carbon stores are a crucial part of the many urgent and varied solutions required to address the climate crisis.
The UK has committed to significantly increase its spending on nature-based solutions, including those offered by the ocean. The Marine Conservation Society and Rewilding Britain are calling on UK governments to adopt ocean-based solutions at pace and scale by 2030.
The report, Blue Carbon – Ocean-based solutions to fight the climate crisis, is available to read at the Marine Conservation Society’s website.
Header image: Mark Kirkland
Marine Life & Conservation
The Shark Trust Great Shark Snapshot is back!
The last week of July will see the return of the Shark Trust’s citizen science initiative that invites divers and snorkelers, all around the world, to record the sharks and rays that they see between the 22nd and 30th. After the success of the first event, this year is going to be even bigger and better.
Information about the species and numbers of sharks and rays the participants find over the week will be added to the Shark Trust’s Shark Log. This global shark census will, over time, allow shark scientists to build a picture of species distribution and any changes that occur. Sharks are threatened by destructive fishing, climate change and habitat loss. The data collected during the Great Shark Snapshot will help scientists put effective conservation plans in place.
Dive clubs, centres, and liveaboards can sign up to show their support for this event and advertise their planned dives on the Great Shark Snapshot registration page. Divers looking to join an event will be able to use the map to find Great Shark Snapshot dives taking place near them. As well as gathering vital data, the event will provide a chance to celebrate the incredible shark and ray species that live close to you.
Caroline Robertson-Brown, Marketing Coordinator at the Shark Trust said: “It was wonderful to see so many divers take part in our first event last year. What is even better is seeing those dive centres and liveaboards returning to take part again this year, along with many more signing up for the first time.”
With the event still 2 months away, dive centres and liveaboards from over 20 countries have already signed up to take part. From Palau to Costa Rica. From the UK to Australia. Whether you are diving your local dive site, or on the diving trip of a lifetime. You can take part in the Great Shark Snapshot.
It is easy to join in. Just go diving between 22nd and 30th July and record every shark, ray and skate that your dive group sees. If possible, take photos and some video footage too. The Shark Trust really wants to see what species you encounter on your dives. Then make sure that you record your sightings on the Shark Trust Shark Log recordings website or by using the Shark Trust app.
The Great Shark Snapshot is a way for divers to get together, go diving, and do something to help shark conservation. Why not dive in?
Find out more here: www.sharktrust.org/snapshot
Fourth Element now planting a tree for every online order
Global dive brand Fourth Element has announced the launch of their “Plant for the Planet” initiative, a commitment towards offsetting their carbon footprint and supporting environmental conservation through tree planting and mangrove restoration.
As a brand dedicated to sustainability and environmental conservation, Fourth Element has partnered with Ecologi, a leading platform for climate action, to plant a tree for every online order received. By working with Ecologi, Fourth Element ensures that the trees and mangroves planted are part of verified reforestation projects around the world that have a positive impact on local communities and biodiversity.
Trees play a crucial role in the health of our planet, absorbing carbon dioxide and providing oxygen, while also supporting biodiversity. In addition, mangroves, which grow in coastal areas, are essential in protecting our oceans and mitigating climate change. They absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and provide habitat for a wide range of marine life. However, both trees and mangroves are under threat from deforestation and development.
“Plant for the Planet” reflects Fourth Element’s commitment to taking responsibility for their impact on the environment and promoting sustainability in their business practices. By choosing to shop with Fourth Element, customers are also supporting the company’s efforts to protect the environment and promote positive change.
“We believe that it is our duty as a business to take action and make a positive impact on the planet,” said Paul Strike, CEO of Fourth Element. “Through our partnership with Ecologi and our ‘Plant for the Planet’ initiative, we are taking steps to offset our carbon footprint and support reforestation and mangrove restoration projects, which are critical for the health of our oceans and the planet as a whole.”
Fourth Element’s “Plant for the Planet” initiative is part of their ongoing commitment to sustainability and environmental conservation. The company continues to explore ways to reduce their environmental footprint and promote responsible practices within the dive industry.
For more information about Fourth Element and their “Plant for the Planet” initiative, please visit www.fourthelement.com/plant-for-the-planet.
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