The carbon footprint of dinner: How 'green' are fish sticks?

phys.org | 3/18/2016 | Staff
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Fish sticks may be a tasty option for dinner, but are they good for the planet?

A new study of the climate impacts of seafood products reveals that the processing of Alaskan pollock into fish sticks, imitation crab, and fish fillets generates significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Post-catch - Processing - Generates - Emissions - Analysis

Post-catch processing generates nearly twice the emissions produced by fishing itself, which is typically where the analysis of the climate impact of seafood ends, according to the findings by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

"The food system is a significant source of global greenhouse gas emissions, and Alaskan pollock is one of the biggest fisheries in the world," said Brandi McKuin, a postdoctoral researcher in environmental studies at UCSC. "These findings highlight the need to take a comprehensive approach to analyzing the climate impacts of the food sector."

McKuin - Author - Paper - Online - Journal

McKuin is the lead author on a new paper that appears online in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Titled "Climate Forcing by Battered-and-breaded Fillets and Crab-flavored sticks from Alaska Pollock," the paper takes a detailed, comprehensive look at the climate impact of the seafood supply chain.

Alaskan pollock is sold as fillets and trim pieces that are used to make products like fish sticks and imitation crab, said McKuin. "It's a huge market," she said.

Studies - Downstream - Processing - Activities - Alaskan

Unlike previous studies that have largely overlooked the downstream processing activities associated with Alaskan pollock, this study examined all the components of the supply chain, from fishing through the retail display case. The results identify "hot spots" where the seafood industry could concentrate its efforts to reduce its climate impacts, said McKuin.

The authors analyzed the climate impacts of transoceanic shipping of exported seafood products, and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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