The dramatic increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution has had profound effects on the ocean and its ability to support life. Addressing the climate crisis is fundamental to restore abundance to the ocean. To date, little attention has been paid to the ability of the oceans to very effectively capture and store CO2.
The ocean ecosystems that store carbon - mangroves, salt marshes, sea-grass, ocean forests and seaweed farms - provide additional essential services including nitrogen and phosphorus absorption, fish nurseries, coastal resilience, and blue economy jobs. Oceans 2050 uses their scientific and markets expertise to scale up blue carbon solutions that are restorative to the oceans.
Regenerative Ocean Farming is a way of farming the sea that is restorative to the marine environment and provides livelihoods and ecosystem services. Seaweed farms have the potential to enable millions of profitable businesses while providing raw material commoditization for inputs to plastics, food, fuel, and cosmetics.
Because they require no fresh water, no deforestation, and no fertilizer - all significant downsides to land based farming - these ocean farms promise to be more sustainable than even the most environmentally sensitive traditional farms. And they offer a crucial opportunity to rebuild livelihoods for fishers and benefits for the community.
For the Global Seaweed Carbon Project, they have brought together a network of leading seaweed scientists and more than 20 seaweed farms from 12 countries, on all five continents and from all relevant climate zones. It is the first global collaborative project of its kind. The goal of the 15-month study is to use empirical evidence on CO2 sequestration by seaweed to provide a scientifically validated basis for algae farms to issue CO2 emission credits. Algae farmers can thus monetize the positive impact of their work on atmospheric CO2 levels.
This study builds on Prof. Carlos Duarte's research and scientific findings on ocean restoration published in the journal Nature. It sees the role of marine algae aquaculture as key to the recovery of the world's oceans and to the reduction of sea temperature rises.
In addition to the storage of CO2, this study will also investigate the binding of micro-plastics in the sediment bottom and the effect of the farms on biodiversity through DNA analysis. Further studies on social impact, gender equality - the majority of ocean farmers worldwide are women - and other ecosystem services such as increasing fish stocks, deacidification or protection against coastal erosion will follow. This will create strong financial incentives for sustainable businesses. Ultimately, the goal is to establish regenerative aquaculture both as a business alternative and as a solution to address the climate crisis and restore the oceans.
The vision of Oceans 2050 is to achieve a steady expansion of algae aquaculture and create the conditions for millions of people around the world to become ocean farmers. Regenerative aquaculture will sequester gigatons of CO2 while revitalizing the oceans. It can build a new, socially just blue economy that can help feed and sustain the world's growing population.
Seaweed under water: Seaweed Solutions AS
Seaweed macro: Algolesko
Seaweed farm: Ocean Farmers