Our Fish at Denmark’s Parliament: Fisheries Management as Carbon Management


Excerpt: Dr Emma Cavan speaks at the Danish Parliament, April 25, 2023


Danish parliamentary event organised by Our Fish and Socialistisk Folkepart marine environment rapporteur Marianne Bigum.

On Tuesday April 25, Our Fish together with Danish Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) hosted an event in Denmark’s Parliament: The scientific pathway to nature and climate friendly fisheries and its relevance to Danish climate and biodiversity obligations. 

We brought together experts, policy-makers and stakeholders to explain the latest science behind fisheries management as carbon management and discuss how to accelerate the much needed transition of Danish fleets to low-impact and low-carbon fishing. 

It was quite chilly in Copenhagen, but it was not just the cold that was giving us the chills – it was the urgency of addressing climate change! Thankfully, the experts at our event warmed us up with some hot-off-the-press scientific insights on how good fisheries management is good carbon management and can help us mitigate climate change.

We heard two great contributions from Dr. Emma Cavan of Imperial College London, and Søren Jacobsen of Foreningen for Skånsomt Kystfiskeri Producentorganisation (FSK-PO – the Danish low impact fishers organisation). While Emma focused on the role of fish in the ocean biological carbon pump and its importance from the climate perspective, Søren explained the need to support more sustainable fishing fleets, especially through the implementation of Article 17 of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which states that fishing access should be allocated by EU member states according to transparent economic, social and environmental criteria. The presentations were then followed by an engaging panel discussion that prompted thought-provoking questions from the public. 

Some key takeaways:

  • fishing activities not only reduce carbon sequestration but also increase emissions from the ocean, disturbing the entire ecosystem;
  • the benefits of the ocean’s carbon storage are threatened by destructive fishing practices in Denmark that extract blue carbon from the ocean, releasing it back into the atmosphere;
  • Denmark’s efforts to meet its climate and biodiversity goals are falling short, necessitating swift and decisive action in the fisheries sector,
  • Denmark should move towards low-carbon, low-impact fishing that is based on the latest scientific data, ends overfishing and restores ocean ecosystems, ensuring that fish populations can deliver their vital ecological functions;
  • ecosystem-based fisheries management in Denmark can contribute to climate mitigation, improving fishers’ returns, contributing to local sustainable development and enhancing resilience to the ongoing impacts of climate change
  • marine spatial planning in Denmark must address both the biodiversity and climate crises to provide a framework in which Danish fishery is a part of a sustainable blue economy.


Event speakers:

    • Dr. Emma Cavan, Research Fellow, Imperial College of London
    • Rebecca Hubbard, Program Director, Our Fish
    • Søren Jacobsen, Chairman of Foreningen for Skånsomt Kystfiskeri Producentorganisation (FSK-PO)
    • Marianne Bigum, Member of the Parliament, Socialistisk Folkeparti
    • Stefan Neuenfeldt, Senior researcher at DTU AQUA, Department of Aquatic Resources
    • Henrike Semmler, Senior Advisor for Ocean & Fisheries, WWF Denmark
    • Moderator: Dr Pernille Schnoor, Former Member of the Parliament, Senior Researcher at World Maritime University


Further reading: