Protect and restore marine wildlife
Create a framework for protection and restoration which creates healthy marine ecosystems which absorb carbon.
Scottish Government policies that focus on habitats and fisheries, should be complemented by wider marine habitat and species restoration policies. All plants and animals, from the smallest plankton to the largest blue whale, are carbon-based and increasing their populations will contribute to increasing the store of carbon in the oceans. In addition, a fully functioning marine ecosystem, where all species’ populations are restored will ‘leak’ less carbon, as natural systems will be more likely to cause it to be recycled.
This is another example of where actions to address the climate crisis and those related to biodiversity are complementary. While an ecosystem-based approach is important, particular attention should be paid to ‘indicator species’ (often the ‘apex predators’) such as seabirds and cetaceans.
For further information:
- Delivering Ocean Recovery to Achieve the COP26 Goals, Scottish Environment LINK, 2021, https://www.scotlink.org/ocean-recovery-cop26/
- The value of restored UK seas, WWF, 2020, https://www.wwf.org.uk/ocean-heroes/uk-seas
- Whales in the carbon cycle: can recovery remove carbon dioxide?, Pearson et al, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, March 2023, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169534722002798
- The Role of Whales in the Carbon Cycle, AZO Cleantech, 2022, https://www.azocleantech.com/news.aspx?newsID=32724 Whales could be key to reducing carbon dioxide, University of Hawai‘i News, January 2023, https:// www.hawaii.edu/news/2023/01/24/whales-carbon-dioxide/