The ocean plays a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate, and fish and fisheries are important aspects of understanding the ocean’s ability to absorb and store carbon. Recent research has highlighted that fishing activities not only reduce carbon sequestration but also increase emissions from the ocean, disturbing the entire ecosystem. Fishing gear’s direct impacts on the seafloor can result in the re-suspension of sediment with impacts on carbon sequestration, and fishing vessels also produce direct emissions from burning fossil fuel. This new science highlights the important role of fishing from a climate change perspective and emphasises the need for ecosystem-based fisheries management.
If Ireland is to fulfil its climate and biodiversity commitments and obligations, and in doing so ensure viable fisheries in the future, it is essential to consider the long-term impacts of certain fishing activities and prioritise sustainability over short-term operating costs.