Shark Bay’s extensive seagrass meadows act as a massive carbon sink which stores more than eight billion dollars' worth of carbon dioxide if valued according to the Federal Government’s proposed carbon price.
That’s the figure calculated by researcher Professor Jim Fourqurean who is part of a new global initiative aimed at utilising seagrass meadows to help mitigate climate change.
“Shark Bay’s seagrass meadows are a vital habitat for dugongs and sea turtles, and they provide the food for fisheries such as the Shark Bay prawn and scallop fisheries,” he said.
“When you think of carbon storage and ecosystems, you generally think of canopies of trees, so a lot of attention has gone into forests.
“But there is as much carbon on average stored in a seagrass meadow as there is stored in a forest. It’s not stored as a living biomass; it’s stored as soil carbon.”