The climate impacts of offshore bottom trawling: Managing sediment carbon storage in the UK post-Brexit

The climate impacts of offshore bottom trawling: Managing sediment carbon storage in the UK post-Brexit

This webinar originally aired on 16 March 2021.

Presented by: Frith Dunkley and Jean-Luc Solandt of the Marine Conservation Society

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union on January 1, 2021. With this change, the UK is no longer subject to European Union (EU) and European Commission measures governing how fishing in MPAs should be managed. As part of the EU, protection of UK seabeds was woefully inadequate, with bottom trawling occurring in over 95% of UK MPAs. The Marine Conservation Society recently used Global Fishing Watch data to assess the level of mobile bottom-contact fishing effort in offshore waters of the UK by different EU member states and then combined this with recent data on the amount of carbon stored in shelf sediments. We estimate the cost of mitigating the carbon release from seabed trawling in UK offshore MPAs to be roughly USD$1.37 billion by 2040. This represents over 20 megatons of carbon mitigation in other areas of the economy. In this webinar, we will present this research, potential policy solutions, and the radical change in political context that is occurring with the UK leaving the EU. We will also discuss the opportunity to control fishing in light of the UK hosting the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021.

Co-sponsors: OCTO (EBM Tools Network, The Skimmer, OpenChannels, MPA News, MarineDebris.info)