Water and energy use in aquaculture: a systematic review of Life Cycle Assessment studies

Main Presenter: Clara M. Vasquez-Mejia 

Co-Authors: Sankalp Shrivastava Alessandro Manzardo María Guðjónsdóttir Ólafur Ögmundarson

Today, aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector, and it is expected to keep growing as a strategy to mitigate the pressure on natural marine resources to meet the growing fish demand [1]. It is crucial to understand the environmental impacts associated with aquaculture to optimize production systems and develop strategies to reduce their environmental emissions [1]. To understand this, scientific literature (January 2009–August 2021) that included LCA studies on finfish aquaculture and their associated environmental impacts, with a special focus on water use, were systematically reviewed. A total of 21 articles were included and classified based on their fish production and LCA characteristics. Each study was categorized based on their aquaculture intensity (using the APIS score [2]), and the water and energy use tradeoff was further investigated. The most recurring contributors to environmental impacts were the type of fish farming and aquafeed. Results also showed that more water is required in extensive production systems, compared to intensive and semi-intensive aquaculture. However, no significant differences in energy use along the different aquaculture intensity levels were observed. This work highlights environmental hotspots consolidated from the literature and draws a line for future research on sustainable finfish aquaculture.

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