Report supports shutdown of all high seas fisheries
Fish and aquatic life living in the high seas are more valuable as a carbon sink than as food and should be better protected, according to research from the University of British Columbia. The study found fish and aquatic life remove 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, a service valued at about $148 billion US. This dwarfs the $16 billion US paid for 10 million tonnes of fish caught on the high seas annually.
"Countries around the world are struggling to find cost effective ways to reduce their carbon emissions," says Rashid Sumaila, director of the UBC Fisheries Economics Research Unit. "We've found that the high seas are a natural system that is doing a good job of it for free."
Sumaila helped calculate the economic value of the carbon stored by life in the high seas by applying prices -- which include the benefits of mitigating the costs of climate change--to the annual quantity of carbon absorbed.
The report argues that the high seas -- defined as an area more than 200 nautical miles from any coast and outside of national jurisdiction--should be closed to all fishing as only one per cent of fish caught annually are exclusively found there.
"Keeping fish in the high seas gives us more value than catching them," says Sumaila. "If we lose the life in the high seas, we'll have to find another way to reduce emissions at a much higher cost."
The study was commissioned by the Global Ocean Commission and was conducted independently by Sumaila and Alex Rogers of Somerville College, Oxford.
Carbon prices were derived from data provided by the U.S. Federal Government Interagency Working Group.
- Value of the High Seas for Life on Earth Highlighted in New Reportfrom National GeographicThu, 5 Jun 2014, 19:40:09 EDT
- Report supports shutdown of all high seas fisheriesfrom Science DailyThu, 5 Jun 2014, 12:52:30 EDT
- Report supports shutdown of all high seas fisheriesfrom PhysorgThu, 5 Jun 2014, 9:41:53 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Stretchy slabs found in the deep Earth
- Electric fields remove nanoparticles from blood with ease
- Innovative reports to help utility regulators, policymakers and electric industry
- UF creates trees with enhanced resistance to greening
- Climate can grind mountains faster than they can be rebuilt, study indicates
- Smeagol found underground in Brazil: New eyeless and highly modified harvestman species
- New gene that makes common bacteria resistant to last-line antibiotic found in animals and patients in China
- Low-oxygen 'dead zones' in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events
- Blocking immune cell treats new type of age-related diabetes
- Forming planet observed for first time
- Assessing the role of negative citations in science
- Obese children's health rapidly improves with sugar reduction unrelated to calories
- Annual Antarctic ozone hole larger and formed later in 2015
- Study reveals the architecture of the molecular machine that copies DNA
- Ancient babies boost Bering land bridge layover