Life cycle assessment of aquaculture systems – a review of methodologies

Life cycle assessments have become a frequently used method in attempts to evaluate environmental consequences of the expanding aquaculture industry. In an attempt to clarify the methodological choices made for assessing different systems, identify data gaps and provide recommendations for the future development of the field, SEAT researchers conducted a review of current pier reviewed literature focusing on LCA of aquaculture. This review was published in the International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment: Life cycle assessment of aquaculture systems – a review.

Article outline

With the SEAT project looking to perform several LCA studies of aquaculture systems in Asia over its life span, researcher at Leiden University carried out a comprehensive review of current peer-reviewed literature focussing of LCAs of different aquatic systems. As global demand for seafood continues to increase despite capture fishery production reaching its limits, aquaculture has become the world’s fastest growing animal production sector. With the major expansion of the sector, comes concerns about environmental impacts, in order to assess these impacts, LCA has become a frequently used tool. Among peer-reviewed literature, there is limited coverage of production in developing countries, low-intensity farming practices, and non-finfish species, although most farmed aquatic products originate from a wide range of farming practices in Asia. The review concluded that efforts should be made to increase transparency of methods and allow results to be reproduced and construct and aquaculture related database.

You can view the article here.

Henriksson, P. J. G. Guinee, J. B. Kleijn, R. & de Snoo, G. R. (2012) Life cycle assessment of aquaculture systems – a review of methodologies. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment. 17: 304-313.

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