Orkney’s Waters to be used to Investigate Blue Carbon


photo credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Orkney’s waters are to be central to a new research programme investigating how the marine environment  stores carbon dioxide. A crucial issue in tackling the effects of climate change.

The Orkney News published a short article by our reporter Nick Morrison a few weeks ago Nick at the Orkney International Science Festival – Blue Carbon.

The Orkney News has also reported about the application to commercially harvest kelp on the West coast of Scotland. Could Commercially Harvesting Seaweed Seriously Damage the Marine Ecosystem?

The large areas of kelp in Scotland’s waters are the forests of the sea. They also provide an essential ‘buffer’ in going some way to protect the shoreline from the action of  waves.

The Scottish Government is collaborating with Scottish Universities funding a research programme.

Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), St Andrew’s University, Glasgow University, Heriot-Watt University, Napier University, and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) will work together to produce the research. It will inform the deliberations of a Blue Carbon Forum led by  Professor John Baxter.

Professor John Baxter, said:

“Through the establishment of the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum, Scotland is taking a lead in the development of an integrated programme of research into different aspects of blue carbon sequestration and storage.

“This will provide essential information to help inform what is required to be done to enhance and protect these key habitats into the future which is essential for the mitigation of future climate change.”

Roseanna Cunningham, Environment Secretary in the Scottish Government said:

“Scottish Natural Heritage has estimated that the amount of carbon stored within Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is the equivalent of four years of Scotland’s total greenhouse emissions.

 “Once we have a better indication of the value of our blue carbon resources, we will be better placed to manage and protect them.

“We’re also going to be the first country in the world to undertake a region-wide blue carbon audit, which will be carried out in the Orkney Islands maritime region.”

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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