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 animal-source 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 by-product 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.
Research news | 2021-10-16
Centre receives substantial research funding on sustainable food production
IKEA Foundation grants 30 million SEK for continued research on more sustainable and just food systems. Gullspång Invest and its subsidiary Gullspång Re:food contribute additional 5 million SEK
Research news | 2021-10-16
Beatrice Crona appointed professor in sustainability science
Deputy science director selected for newly established professorship in sustainability science with focus on sustainable food systems
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Learn how to drive the social change that is fundamentally required for an effective response to climate change
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Ready for anything
Centre theme leader Cibele Queiroz explains why diversity is important in turbulent times