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Environmental Assessment of Seafood Products through LCA

Final report of a Nordic Network project

image of Environmental Assessment of Seafood Products through LCA

A network project run has gathered researchers in the field of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and seafood to discuss and develop methodology for LCAs of seafood products. Project participants represented national projects in this field in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The project has resulted in exchange of research results between the national projects and has constituted a forum for discussion of methodological issues for the participants. Methodological development has taken several important steps forward through this collaboration which are reported in this report as well as benefits of this development for the Nordic seafood sector. The report starts with a brief introduction to LCA methodology, continues with short reports about important environmental questions related to fishery and reports from the different workshops. Finally, a discussion of results, conclusions and a future outlook ends the report. Hopefully this will give a good picture of the status of LCA methodology for products coming from fishery and aquaculture.

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LCA methodology

Life Cycle Assessment is a method for assessment of the environmental impact of a product through its entire life cycle. The performance of an LCA is divided into four main parts: Goal and scope definition, Inventory analysis, Impact assessment and Interpretation of results. In the goal and scope definition the system to be studied and the purpose of the study is defined. System boundaries are chosen, preferably reflecting the boundary between the natural and the technical system. The inventory analysis consists of gathering of data concerning the resource use, energy consumption, emissions and products resulting from each activity in the product chain. The first results of an LCA is a matrix of inventory results, where the calculated values for each phase of the life cycle and the total values are presented. In order to simplify this table and to get an idea of what kind of environmental impact the emissions cause, characterisation methods are used to weight together all emissions causing e.g. global warming, acidification, toxicity, eutrophication, photochemical ozone formation and stratospheric ozone depletion. Characterisation together with qualitative assessment of types of environmental impact that cannot be characterised is called impact assessment. After the impact assessment is completed, the interpretation of results and identification of key issues and improvement options follow to finalise the LCA.

English

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