Environmental assessment of cod (Gadus morhua) from autoline fisheries

LCA FOR ENERGY SYSTEMS AND FOOD PRODUCTS

Abstract

Purpose

The main purpose of this study has been to document the environmental performance of products based on autoline-caught cod and the distribution of environmental impacts in the value chain from fishing to retail. Another aim has been to document the performed environmental improvement analyses.

Methods

Standard life cycle assessment methodology has been employed and the following impact categories studied: global warming potential (GWP), acidification, eutrophication, photochemical oxidant formation, ozone layer depletion and cumulative energy demand.

Results and discussion

Products derived from autoline-caught cod have a GWP in the range of 0.16–7.6/1.7–4.4 kg CO2-eq/kg product delivered to consumer, using economic and mass allocation, respectively. The main impacts come from fuel consumption and release of refrigerants in the fishery. The products studied represent each of the four major processing outputs. The differences between the products can partly be attributed to differences in methodology (system borders, allocation), partly to actual physical differences. A comparison with published results from other studies indicates that seafood products sourced from Northeast Arctic cod fished with the autoline method has a relatively good environmental performance. A number of possible options for improving the environmental performance of the products were identified. The most internal improvement action was stopping leakages in fish freezers.

Conclusions

This study has given a detailed overview of the environmental performance of seafood products sourced from Northeast Arctic cod from autoline fisheries in Norwegian territorial waters. This study has demonstrated the usefulness of such results in improving the environmental performance of the products. However, the usefulness of the results in communication to external actors is limited because few data exists on other products fulfilling the same functions and using the exact same methodology and assumptions. In order to achieve comparability between results from competing products, it is necessary to use a standardised and detailed calculation method. At the moment, no such method seems to be available. The literature study indicated that the environmental impact of Northeast Arctic cod products sourced from autoline fisheries compares well with other cod products on the market. Some cod stocks are sustainably managed, others not. Hence, it is recommended to break down results not only to species level but also fish stock level when the aim is to guide seafood customers towards making informed purchasing decisions.

Keywords

Autoline Cod Comparing environmental performance Fish 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ostfold ResearchKraakeroeyNorway

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