13 Feb 2019 - A new concept, “fish carbon”, recognizes the potential of marine life to address the climate change challenge and prevent global biodiversity loss.
Oceans, and all marine life that lives under and above the water, play a central role in stabilizing the Earth’s climate. They provide a vital source of food to a vast number of land and water species and regulate the amount of CO2 that stays in the atmosphere by absorbing 30 per cent of global emissions.
“Fish carbon” is a term used to describe the carbon interactions of all marine vertebrates that contribute to the oceans’ carbon sequestration: turtles, sea birds, mammals such as whales and dolphins, and fish such as sharks, tuna and sardines. These interactions or mechanisms are the natural life processes of marine life that enable capture of atmospheric carbon, allow carbon storage in benign form deep in the ocean, and provide a potential buffer against ocean acidification.
“The fish carbon concept is not without precedence in conservation policy,” says Steven Lutz, Blue Carbon Programme Leader for UN Environment/GRID-Arendal. “Just last month in support of sustainable whale management, 41 nations of the International Whaling Commission endorsed two resolutions recognizing the value of whales in carbon storage and their potential role in climate change mitigation.”
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