Life cycle assessment of fish and seafood processed products – A review of methodologies and new challenges

Autor(es): Ian Vázquez Rowe y Israel Ruiz-Salmón, Jara Laso, María Margallo, Pedro Villanueva-Rey, Eduardo Rodríguez, Paula Quinteiro, Ana Cláudia Dias, Cheila Almeida, Maria Leonor Nunes, Antonío Marques, Antonio Cortés, María Teresa Moreira, Gumersindo Feijoo, Philippe Loubet, Guido Sonnemann, Andrew P. Morse, Ronan Cooney, Eoghan Clifford, Liticia Regueiro, Diego Méndez, Clémentine Anglada, Christelle Noirot, Neil Rowan, Rubén Aldaco

Life cycle assessment (LCA) has been widely applied in many different sectors, but the marine products and seafood segment have received relatively little attention in the past. In recent decades, global fish production experienced sustained growth and peaked at about 179 million tonnes in 2018. Consequently, increased interest in the environmental implications of fishery products along the supply chain, namely from capture to end of life, was recently experienced by society, industry and policy-makers.

This timely review aims to describe the current framework of LCA and its application to the seafood sector that mainly focused on fish extraction and processing, but it also encompassed the remaining stages. An excess of 60 studies conducted over the last decade, along with some additional publications, were comprehensively reviewed; these focused on the main LCA methodological choices, including but not limited to, functional unit, system boundaries allocation methods and environmental indicators.

The review identifies key recommendations on the progression of LCA for this increasingly important sustaining seafood sector. Specifically, these recommendations include (i) the need for specific indicators for fish-related activities, (ii) the target species and their geographical origin, (iii) knowledge and technology transfer and, (iv) the application and implementation of key recommendations from LCA research that will improve the accuracy of LCA models in this sector. Furthermore, the review comprises a section addressing previous and current challenges of the seafood sector. Wastewater treatment, ghost fishing or climate change, are also the objects of discussion together with advocating support for the water-energy-food nexus as a valuable tool to minimize environmental negativities and to frame successful synergies.

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