Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Global Salmon Farming Systems
We present a global-scale life cycle assessment of a major food commodity, farmed salmon. Specifically, we report the cumulative energy use, biotic resource use, and greenhouse gas, acidifying, and eutrophying emissions associated with producing farmed salmon in Norway, the UK, British Columbia (Canada), and Chile, as well as a production-weighted global average. We found marked differences in the nature and quantity of material/energy resource use and associated emissions per unit production across regions. This suggests significant scope for improved environmental performance in the industry as a whole. We identify key leverage points for improving performance, most notably the critical importance of least-environmental cost feed sourcing patterns and continued improvements in feed conversion efficiency. Overall, impacts were lowest for Norwegian production in most impact categories, and highest for UK farmed salmon. Our results are of direct relevance to industry, policy makers, eco-labeling programs, and consumers seeking to further sustainability objectives in salmon aquaculture.
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