Berry Marttin, a member of the management board of the Netherlands-based Rabobank, said he is excited about the opportunities for blue carbon initiatives in the shrimp sector. Speaking at the Global Shrimp Forum on Sept. 6-9, the Rabobank executive said there is a huge potential for the shrimp farming sector to capitalize on blue carbon through projects such as mangrove restoration.
“I didn’t know so well until a couple of months ago the huge positive impact that blue carbon can have on your industry,” Marttin said, adding that while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has identified the potential of carbon sequestration to absorb four billion tonnes of the food sector’s CO2 emissions through regenerative farming, it ignores the potential of blue carbon.
While projects on land can help capture 1-2 tonnes of CO2 per year, coastal projects such as mangrove restoration can reach 5 tonnes per hectare, Marttin said. If coastal carbon capture projects were monetized at a rate similar to land projects, this could have important implications for small-scale shrimp farmers.
“Five tonnes per hectare is an additional income of at least $500 per hectare,” he noted. Marttin also said most emissions in the shrimp sector come at the farm level, and explained that solutions like solar power could be used instead of diesel generators.
By incorporating such practices together with blue carbon, “you produce a net positive shrimp,” he said. “You can say to your consumer, that ‘basically, if you eat this shrimp you are contributing to the environment, not taking away from the environment.’ I may be dreaming, but I do think that I could try to make a case about that.”
While blue carbon initiatives such as mangrove restoration could potentially play a role in the fight against global warming, some scientists doubt the effectiveness of the method. A 2022 Frontiers research said blue carbon habitats have “uncertain and unreliable” climate benefits.