Austral Fisheries purchases Canopy Blue’s kelp-restoration credits

Australian waters

Perth, Australia-based Austral Fisheries has become the first customer to purchase kelp reforestation credits offered by Canopy Blue.

Peppermint Grove, Australia-based Canopy Blue’s kelp reforestation credits provide carbon-emission offsets for industrial operators, including seafood companies. In 2016, Austral Fisheries became the first seafood company to commit to carbon neutrality across its operations. Its carbon-neutral toothfish and prawns have achieved a sales premium since first being offered later that year. In 2020, Austral Fisheries launched an acclerator program to support start-ups with a focus on sustainability-focused innovation in the seafood industry.

"Austral Fisheries has always been committed to sustainable fishing practices and supporting innovations that help to minimize our impact on the environment," Austral Fisheries CEO David Carter said in a press release. "By supporting the Kelp Reforestation Project, we are not only offsetting our carbon emissions but also helping to restore a vital marine ecosystem that has suffered greatly in recent years."

Together, the companies will work towards offsetting emissions to comply with the Australian government’s carbon-neutrality program, Climate Active, and simultaneously support kelp restoration in Western Australia over an area of 97,438 hectares devastated by the 2011 El Niño natural disaster. 

"By purchasing Canopy Blue's kelp reforestation credits, Austral Fisheries is again leading the way in demonstrating its commitment to sustainability, whilst supporting a project with the potential to unlock Kelp reforestation as a nature-based solution to climate change and have a huge impact on the health of our oceans globally" Canopy Blue CEO Jon-Paul Cox said. "Kelp forests cover a third of the world’s coastlines and support hundreds of millions of people, but they are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. We are really proud to have a company as committed to restoring the oceans as Austral Fisheries are on board as our first purchaser."

Canopy Blue created its kelp restoration program through a partnership with Thomas Wernberg, a professor at the University of Western Australia. Wernberg has published research showing kelp forests are critical to the health of local marine ecosystems and contribute to wider environments in the ways of carbon sequestration, improved water quality, and increased biodiversity. 

Canopy Blue is owned by Australia-based Grey Innovation, which operates in the medtech, cleantech, and defense sectors.  Grey Innovation Chairman Jefferson Harcourt said the project  has the potential to unlock global kelp restoration as a nature-based solution to mitigating the effects of climate change.  

“Canopy Blue will be the masters of scale when it comes to growing seaweed in the ocean,” he said. “We are bringing best practices from the construction sector and large-scale project management to build the infrastructure required to provide bulk quantities of seaweed for fuel and plastic replacement, and to regenerate lost kelp forests at hyperscale. The carbon markets are an important source of funding for us, and we are delighted to have Austral Fisheries as our first customer.”

Photo courtesy of Austral Fisheries/Canopy Blue


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