Bottom Trawling Responsible For More CO2 Emissions Than Air Travel

Bottom Trawling Responsible For More CO2 Emissions Than Air Travel - Carbon Herald
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The global fishing industry – and trawling in particular – poses a continuous threat to marine animals and ecosystems. But beyond that, it is also among the most significant contributors to climate change. 

The world oceans absorb as much as one quarter of the planet’s CO2 emissions. A scientific study by the British Antarctic Survey identified fish as an important factor in storing carbon.

When fish consume plankton – which absorbs a lot of CO2 – the carbon sinks as ocean waste and, in case it reaches the ocean’s bottom, it can be stored away from the atmosphere long-term. 

Thus, the fishing industry turns into a major disruptor in this process. Some specific fishing methods, such as bottom trawling, where huge nets scoop both marine animals and carbon-storing sediment from the seabeds, are especially harmful.

In fact, a study published in the scientific journal Nature in 2019 reported that bottom trawling is responsible for the staggering one gigaton of CO2 emissions annually, or more emissions than the aviation industry.  

As ocean temperatures continue to rise, curbing carbon emissions becomes a critical task in preventing species extinction, rising water levels, and disastrous storms. 

Relevant: Phykos Looks To Seaweed For Removing Marine Carbon

Figures released on World Oceans Day indicated UK citizens demand stronger Government actions to protect the ocean, wrote English environment coalition Wildlife and Countryside.

73% of the people polled said marine life needs better protection and 55% of them said they believe bottom trawling should be banned in Marine Protected Sites. 

“The findings of this poll show that the British public demand action now to stop the destruction of the ocean,” said Amy Slack, Head of Campaigns & Policy at Surfers Against Sewage. “It’s time the Government listens and bans activities that cause untold damage to marine ecosystems and wildlife, put in place proper management of the existing MPA network, and enforce protections. We are facing an Ocean & Climate Emergency and we need to act urgently if our seas stand a chance of recovering.”

While the UK government is making progress on banning bottom trawling fishing practices, experts worry that the government’s actions are too slow to meet the 2030 targets and their commitment to ban the practice in 40 offshore sites in England by 2024. 

Relevant: Planetary Wins $1 Million From XPRIZE For Ocean Carbon Removal

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