Fish Can Help Slow Down Global Warming â€” But Not If We Keep Eating Them
Geege Schuman stashed this in Climate
Humans are pumping roughlyÂ 33 billion tonnes (36 billion tons)Â of carbon dioxide into the air each year. If all that showedÂ up in the atmosphere,Â it would accelerate global warming even further. The ocean, however, absorbsÂ around half of thatÂ CO2. Phytoplankton (essentially, microscopic plants)Â that live nearÂ the seaâ€™s surface take in a lot of it as they photosynthesize, ultimately flushing the CO2 into the cold, dense depths, where it stays trapped for centuries.
How does it travel all those fathoms? Until now, scientists have chalked it up mainly to gravityâ€”to the sinking of phytoplankton that have either died or been eaten and excreted by fish. But newÂ research reveals that we have deep-sea fish to thank for transferring a lot of that carbon into the depthsâ€”and that sinking alone wouldnâ€™t do the trick.
In fact, bottom-dwellersÂ transferÂ more than aÂ million tonnes of CO2 a year from surface waters of the UK and Ireland, helpfully storing betweenÂ â‚¬8 million andÂ â‚¬14 million ($10.9 million and $19 million) a year in carbon credit value, saysÂ aÂ new studyÂ (paywall) byÂ a University of Southampton team. Killing too many of those fishes, as well as the ones they feed on, risks damagingÂ the oceanâ€™s abilityÂ to store carbon, leaving more CO2 in the atmosphere.
We need to make more fish!!