What is blue carbon?
Blue carbon is the term used to describe the carbon captured and stored by marine and coastal ecosystems. Blue carbon ecosystems, which include seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh, can store substantially more carbon per area than land-based forests and, if undisturbed, can store this carbon in soils for many years.
Projects that restore blue carbon ecosystems, such as the reintroduction of tidal flows to restore coastal wetlands, can help deliver significant emissions reductions and may enable carbon credits to be earned.
Why is there a need for action?
In addition to emissions reduction, blue carbon ecosystems provide a range of co-benefits to landholders, businesses and the community through improved water quality, coastal protection, breeding habitat for commercial and recreational fishes, tourism, and Aboriginal cultural benefits.
However, we are losing these ecosystems. Since European settlement across Australia, we have lost approximately 50% of saltmarshes, 52 to 78% of mangroves and 20 to 26% of seagrass meadows.
Recognising the numerous benefits that blue carbon ecosystems provide, the NSW Government is taking action to ensure effective conservation of existing blue carbon ecosystems and providing support for the delivery of blue carbon projects.
NSW Blue Carbon Strategy 2022–2027
The NSW Blue Carbon Strategy 2022–2027 provides a roadmap to support blue carbon projects in New South Wales which restore coastal and marine biodiversity and ecosystems, while working towards our Net Zero goals. It aims to provide the catalyst for action, increase participation in the emerging blue carbon market and leverage the many co-benefits of blue carbon projects, such as improved water quality, coastal protection and enhanced habitat for fish and birds.
Delivering targeted action
The strategy identifies 5 overarching priorities and the actions the NSW Government will deliver under each priority over the next 5 years.
- Conserving blue carbon ecosystems and supporting their adaptation and migration.
- Delivering blue carbon projects on public, private and First Nations peoples-owned and managed land.
- Embedding blue carbon in coastal and marine policy planning and management.
- Progressing blue carbon research.
- Promoting blue carbon investment.