PUBLICATION • Journal article
Recirculating Aquaculture Is Possible without Major Energy Tradeoff: Life Cycle Assessment of Warmwater Fish Farming in Sweden
Seafood is seen as promising for more sustainable diets. The increasing production in land-based closed Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RASs) has overcome many local environmental challenges with traditional open net-pen systems such as eutrophication. The energy needed to maintain suitable water quality, with associated emissions, has however been seen as challenging from a global perspective. This study uses Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to investigate the environmental performance and improvement potentials of a commercial RAS farm of tilapia and Clarias in Sweden. The environmental impact categories and indicators considered were freshwater eutrophication, climate change, energy demand, land use, and dependency on animalsource feed inputs per kg of fillet. We found that feed production contributed most to all environmental impacts (between 67 and 98%) except for energy demand for tilapia, contradicting previous findings that farm-level energy use is a driver of environmental pressures. The main improvement potentials include improved byproduct utilization and use of a larger proportion of plant-based feed ingredients. Together with further smaller improvement potential identified, this suggests that RASs may play a more important role in a future, environmentally sustainable food system.
Bergman, K., P. J. G. Henriksson, S. Hornborg, M. Troell, L. Borthwick, M. Jonell, G. Philis, and F. Ziegler. 2020. Recirculating Aquaculture Is Possible without Major Energy Tradeoff: Life Cycle Assessment of Warmwater Fish Farming in Sweden. Environmental Science & Technology 54(24):16062–16070.READ ONLINE