China has marked the first successful trade in carbon credits from the aquaculture sector and is seeking to promote the trade as a major new source of income for the marine aquaculture sector.
A pilot program in Liancheng County in Fujian Province have traded 15,000 metric tons (MT) worth of carbon credits for CNY 12 million (USD 1.8 million, EUR 1.5 million) on what’s described as China’s first marine carbon sink trading platform at the Xiamen Carbon and Emissions Trading Center.
At a conference focused on marine fishery carbon sink trading in southeastern China organized by government departments including the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Natural Resources, Chinese fisheries officials pointed to the potential carbon offset earnings in the culture of seaweed, which is a major consumer cash crop in China. A presentation from the Ministry of Natural Resources’ Third Institute of Oceanography touted the pilot project as a prototype for “realizing the marketization of the value of carbon sinks in marine aquaculture” while thus “increasing the green income" for local fisheries. Liancheng County officials said they see a potential value of nearly CNY 1 billion (USD 150 million, EUR 130 million) for carbon sequestration credits from local algae and shellfish cultivation – the country produces 700,000 MT of shellfish per year.
At the conference, Gao Shuangcheng, deputy secretary of the Communist Party in Lianjiang County, said local government is being guided by China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which emphasizes the need to “achieve carbon peaking.”
Globally, scientists have pointed to ways fisheries can assist in carbon reduction – for example, by barring bottom-trawling by fishing vessels. However, the absence of a global standard for measuring and certifying carbon sequestration in fisheries and oceans remains a drawback in the push to make coastal ecosystems like mangrove forests and seagrass beds certifiable for CO2 sequestration in the same way that terrestrial forests are currently certifiable.