Blue carbon and the Australian seafood industry: workshop

Project Number:



CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Principal Investigator:

Mat Vanderklift

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





The Australian seafood industry aspires to continue improving its sustainability in many areas, including reducing its carbon emissions and ultimately achieving carbon neutrality. The 2017 National Seafood Industry Leaders called for the industry to strive to become carbon neutral by 2030. There are many aspects to this, such as improving fuel efficiency and evaluating land transport options, but some emissions are inevitable. To offset these emissions, the seafood industry might choose to investigate carbon markets. Investments in blue carbon could also provide added value to the industry, say, through better fish nurseries, or through the social benefits of being seen to proactively nurture the ecosystems that support them. However, the mechanisms to allow the seafood industry to pursue this are poorly developed. Impediments include the paucity of blue carbon opportunities in existing regulatory markets, and uncertainty about the most appropriate financial mechanisms for blue carbon investment. The industry would benefit from a clear guide that outlines the current (and likely future) opportunities, the risks, a realistic assessment of the benefits, and a set of options for potential investors to pursue. To facilitate this, we will hold a meeting of key seafood industry stakeholders: at this workshop we will inform stakeholders about the current state of knowledge and opportunities, ask the extent to which the industry aspires to be carbon neutral, and whether blue carbon investments are perceived to be relevant. We will identify the major impediments to the industry achieving its desired goals, and plan concrete actions that can be taken to achieve them. These will be compiled into a plan to inform the FRDC on what actions to invest in, and how much investment would be needed.


1. Inform and understand aspirations of the Australian seafood industry with respect to carbon neutrality

2. Map the aspirations against current opportunities in Australia and overseas

3. Identify actions that can be taken by the seafood industry and the FRDC that will help move the industry towards meeting aspirations

4. Synthesise 1-3 into a plan that also identifies enablers and constraints that the industry needs to be aware of, and develop recommendations about the best steps

Achieving carbon offsets through blue carbon: a review of needs and opportunities relevant to the Australian seafood industry

Final Report
Author(s):Mat Vanderklift, Andy Steven, Raymundo Marcos-Martinez, Daniel Gorman
Date Published:January 2019
Several stakeholders within the Australian seafood industry have demonstrated strong leadership by developing carbon neutral business practices. In 2017, participants in the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program challenged the industry to become carbon neutral by 2030. In response, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) hosted a workshop that invited key stakeholders and thought leaders from industry, government and nongovernmental organisations to discuss the overall attitudes of the Australian seafood industry to the concept of carbon neutrality, and to gauge aspirations for investment in coastal “blue” carbon offsets as a way of achieving carbon neutrality
Blue carbon offsets are not yet available in Australia, including (but not limited to) Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund, but voluntary market opportunities exist overseas. Several Australian businesses are seeking to promote efforts to accelerate their development in Australia. Developing partnerships between the seafood industry and like-minded businesses, to address key uncertainties and knowledge gaps (such as uncertainty over tenure, lack of reliable demonstration sites, absence of key data such as carbon accumulation rates) is likely to be a fruitful option for maximising the future blue carbon opportunities for the seafood industry