South East Trawl Fish Found to have Low Carbon Footprint

Lucy Towers
21 August 2013, at 1:00am

AUSTRALIA - The concept of sustainability in seafood generally relates to issues such as overfishing, by-catch and impacts on marine habitats. Researchers at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania, are looking more broadly at the sustainability of seafood supply by assessing the carbon footprint across the supply chain.

Marine capture fisheries account for 1.2 per cent of global oil consumption and emit >130 million tons of CO2 annually.

Greenhouse gas emissions were measured for fish from capture to wholesale and converted into carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) using Life Cycle assessment (LCA), a standardised method for assessing and comparing the resource inputs and emissions of products across supply chains.

5.2kg CO2e are emitted per kilo of fish, 60 per cent of which is at the capture stage. In comparison to other products, fish from the SETF has a low carbon footprint. For example, Tasmanian Southern Rock Lobster has a footprint of 17.6kg CO2e /kg and Banana Prawn from the Northern Prawn fishery 7.6kg CO2e /kg.

More broadly, the global average for aquaculture prawns is 15kg CO2e /kg, Basa, 9 kg CO2e /kg, and Salmon up to 5.4kg CO2e /kg.

For agricultural production, carbon footprints range from 9-129 kg CO2e/kg for beef and 2-6 kg CO2e/kg for poultry.