CLOSED-contained aquaculture leads to (sea)food with less carbon footprint? Please consider full footprint & provide full data before making claims…

An August 27, 2017, video published on the BBC News website makes interesting viewing because of the claim made that Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) may “cut down the carbon footprint of eating seafood”. This is a claim too often recirculated without provision of the full data.

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Closed-contained aquaculture / RAS is indeed and absolutely a concept with great potential (not least the potential  for aquaponics & food security  in most urban & rural homes in the long-term) but the ‘lower carbon footprint’ argument will only gain validity & credibility if/when all the inputs are considered: namely, the energy & GHGe involved in the massive amount of materials & energy use required.

Lowering ‘food miles’ is great, but not so great if done at the expense of increasing concrete and PVC/plastic/aluminium usage (the cement industry is “one of the primary producers of carbon dioxide”).

Lowering ‘food miles’ is great, but not so great if done at the expense of increasing concrete and PVC/plastic/aluminium usage (the cement industry is “one of the primary producers of carbon dioxide”). Not taking into account all the energy requirements & footprints of RAS in making sustainability claims would equate to considering the sustainability of ‘conventional’ aquaculture without (for example) its feed or biodiversity footprints: something which — everybody agrees – would not make sense.

For comparison sakes, both closed-contained and open-pen aquaculture industries need to measure/assess the environmental – and social / human rights – ‘costs’ of all inputs (including those going into the making of their equipment & facilities) via Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) methodologies. This is also valid for other industries (agriculture, wind energy, etc.). Seafood Intelligence‘s last ‘Top 100 Seafood Firms’ Transparency Benchmark highlighted among many others that only 9% of the world’s top seafood companies communicate on  LCA studies/dimension when it comes to fish feed and/or transport-of-seafood-to-market (and much less than 9% provided data)…

Until all energy inputs necessary in the production of a particular good/service are considered, it can be preposterous to make some of those carbon footprint claims.

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The world’s first [closed-contained] GM salmon (consumed unwittingly by some Canadians in H1 2017) by AquaBounty which controversially claims to be “The World’s Most Sustainable Salmon” was produced in Panama (!) before being transported to Canada which already possesses ample wild-caught and farmed salmon resources. Where was the ‘smallest environmental footprint’ and which was the ‘most sustainable salmon’ then?!

Until companies become transparent and fully communicate in a timely & thir party-assured fashion on their sustainability performance, many claims to be found on the internet/in the media can be construed as greenwashing / bluewashing…

#Aquaculture #CSR, #Sustainability #CarbonFootprint #SeafoodEthics

See the BBC News video here: http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-40927488/it-s-seafood-but-there-s-no-sea-required