, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 487-497

Environmental life cycle assessment of Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) caught along the Swedish west coast by creels and conventional trawls—LCA methodology with case study

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Background, aim, and scope

Two fishing methods, creeling and conventional trawling, are used to target Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus), economically the second most important species in Swedish west coast fisheries. The goal was to evaluate overall resource use and environmental impact caused by production of this seafood with the two different fishing methods using life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology.

Materials and methods

The inventory covered the entire chain starting by production of supply materials and the fishery itself, through seafood auctioning, wholesaling, retailing, to the consumer. That portion of the life cycle occurring on land was assumed to be identical for Norway lobsters regardless as to how they were caught. The functional unit was 300 g of edible meat (i.e., Norway lobster tails), corresponding to 1 kg of whole, boiled Norway lobsters. The seafloor impact of trawling was quantified using a recently developed methodology.


Major differences were found between the fishing methods with regard to environmental impact: creeling was found to be more efficient than conventional trawling in all traditional impact categories and in the two additional fishery-related categories involving seafloor impact and discarding. Since the quality of the creel-caught Nephrops was higher, the difference was probably even higher than indicated here.


Major improvement potential was identified in the more widespread use of creels and species-selective trawls. The only deficiencies of creel fishing were poorer working environment and safety, and a potentially higher risk of recruitment overfishing. However, these issues could be handled by technological development and fisheries regulations and should not hamper the development of creel fishery.


Improvement options were identified and quantified for the Swedish Nephrops fishery. The study demonstrates how LCA can be used to compare the environmental performance of different segments of a fishery.

Recommendations and perspectives

Shifting to creeling and species-selective trawling would lead to considerably lower discard, fuel use, and seafloor impact while providing consumers with the same amount of Norway lobsters.

Responsible Editor: Nils Jungbluth