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.