Blue Carbon Champions group launches in Parliament

2 minute read

On Tuesday 26 October 2021 we held the official launch of our Blue Carbon Champions group in Parliament.

With one week to go before the long-anticipated COP26 Climate Change Conference is due to kick off in Glasgow, the time has never been more fitting to spark some optimism for the opportunities that our seas can offer.

Humpback Whale mother and calf in waters near Tonga Michael Smith ITWP

Credit: Michael Smith ITWP via Shutterstock

We are working with our cross-party champion group of UK politicians to increase awareness around the unique role that ocean-based solutions can play in fighting the climate crisis. Our Blue Carbon Champions are helping us to deliver the message to UK Government that taking decisive action to protect and value our blue carbon habitats is a vital part of the roadmap we need to put the ocean back on a path to recovery and meet our climate and nature goals.

Our launch event provided an insightful platform for politicians to hear from a range of speakers from international policymakers, the financial sector, policy experts and the fishing industry.

First up, Dr Jean-Luc Solandt highlighted ‘the single most important activity that we need to curtail’ to protect our blue carbon habitats; bottom trawling. This destructive fishing method is having a huge impact on our critically important seagrass meadows, kelp forests and oyster beds, which are vital in storing carbon and removing it from our atmosphere.


Credit: 1350206210_Trawler_c_Anney-Lier_shutterstock

Next, small-scale fishermen representative Jerry Percy spoke to the need for a more dynamic approach to fishing, as a result of climate change pressures on the sector. He warned ‘we’re having to fish longer for the same amount of fish’ and called for greater evidence collection to inform the policy needed to secure livelihoods and recover the health of our fish stocks.

Then Deloitte’s Dr Siobhan Gardiner shared the importance of ocean financing with the group, and the vast opportunity that properly valuing the ocean can provide, ‘with every $1 of investment in the ocean creating a $10 return for the economy’.

Pole and line Tuna fishing boat Maldives MacAlister Elliot and Partners

Tuna fishing boat in the Maldives

Credit: MacAlister Elliot and Partners

Finally, Ulfath Ibrahim shared her insight on blue carbon from the Maldives. As an ocean state consisting of over 1000 islands she said Maldivians have ‘a very strong connection to our ocean’, and discussed how an ocean-based economy can work to enhance both livelihoods and the marine environment.

It was great to hear such enthusiasm from our attendees and have a chance to come together to discuss such an exciting area of our work, and we look forward to taking the group forward beyond the COP26 conference to build the political will to utilise the immense opportunity of blue carbon.

Co-funded by the European Union.

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