Published: 9 December 2022 Updated: 16 December 2022


Blue carbon involves naturally storing carbon in coastal and marine ecosystems including mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass communities. These areas can rapidly bury (or sequester) the carbon by the deposition and accumulation of sediment.  

Australia’s coastal wetland ecosystems bury carbon at rates of up to 66 times higher and store 5 times more carbon in their soils than those of our terrestrial ecosystems. Australian coastal wetland ecosystems are estimated to store on average at least 5% of all carbon stored in ecosystems (biomass and soils). 

Managing our marine and coastal ecosystems to store carbon will help to: 

  • mitigate the impacts of climate change; 

  • preserve marine and coastal environments; 

  • protect marine coastal fisheries and breeding grounds;  

  • reduce tidal and storm surge impacts; and 

  • protect nature-based tourism values. 


Potential use in Australia 

Australia has considerable potential to store carbon in coastal and marine ecosystems. Australia has a large and predominantly natural coastline with many low energy aquatic environments such as mangroves and seagrass beds. For example Australia has an estimated 12% of the worlds blue carbon stock (Coastal Blue Carbon Ecosystems - DAWE). 

The challenge for Australia is to develop a mature blue carbon market, based on agreed accounting methods. A carbon market would attract investment which is needed to manage blue carbon environments to achieve multiple benefits. 



Previous FRDC research is shown in the table below. There are numerous other research organisations and initiatives such as CSIRO (Estimating Australia's 'blue carbon' potential - CSIRO), jurisdictions (Department for Environment and Water | Blue Carbon), universities (Home - Blue Carbon Lab)  and international programs (The Blue Carbon Initiative). 




Related Projects

Project Number Title Status
2020-089  Energy use and carbon emissions assessments in the Australian fishing & aquaculture sectors: Audit, self-assessment and guidance tools for footprint reduction Current
2019-032 Seaweed production as a nutrient offset for Moreton Bay Current
2018-060  Blue carbon and the Australian seafood industry: workshop  Completed
2012-036  Revitalising estuaries and wetlands for carbon sequestration, biodiversity, fisheries and the community  Completed
2011-084 Comparative sequestration and mitigation opportunities across the Australian landscape and its primary industries Completed
2009-074 Fostering strategic fisheries management responses to Australia's changing climate Completed