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Benchmarking the environmental performance of best management practice and genetic improvements in Egyptian aquaculture using life cycle assessment

Henriksson, P.J.G., M. Dickson, A.N. Allah, D. Al-Kenawy, and M. Phillips (2017). Aquaculture 468:53-59.

Abstract:

Egyptian aquaculture is gaining importance as an affordable and nutritious source of animal protein among Egyp- tians. Nile tilapia dominates production (77% of total production), followed by carps (17%) and mullets (11%). Egyptian tilapia farmers are, however, facing challenges with regards to financial viability and poor water quality. Fish farms are also contributing towards water pollution and other environmental impacts. In order to improve the situation, WorldFish launched the IEIDEAS project in 2011 with the ambition to train farmers in best manage- ment practices (BMP) and distribute the 9th generation of the Abbassa strain (G9). The present study aimed at evaluating any relative environmental gains that BMP and G9 offers compared to conventional farming using life cycle assessment (LCA). Inventory data representing 137 farmers and four groups (control, BMP, G9 and BMP + G9) were evaluated. Life cycle impact assessment results including quantitative uncertainties were then calculated and statistically tested, using Monte Carlo analysis and Wilcoxon paired significance test. Five im- pact categories were explored: global warming, eutrophication, acidification, freshwater consumption and land use. The G9 stain offered the greatest improvements across the evaluated impact categories, significantly reduc- ing environmental impacts with between 12% and 36%. BMP, in the meantime, only offered significant improve- ments compared to the control with regards to eutrophication, acidification, freshwater consumption and land use. Meanwhile, BMP + G9 performed comparably to only G9 except for eutrophication where it had a signifi- cantly larger environmental footprint. More efficient feed utilization and higher productivity were the main rea- sons for the environmental improvements. Additional improvements that should be explored include improved feeds made of sustainably sourced raw materials, and better pond water management, including probiotics and paddle-wheels.

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Keywords: LCA, Tilapia, Egypt, BMP, Environment, Footprint

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