Impact of Fisheries

by mrob10 on April 20, 2018 - 2:44pm

The article “Fisheries emissions rising despite recent efforts, UBC study shows” by Bethany Lindsay discusses and brings forward how different types of fisheries bring different amounts of Carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. A new research from the University of British Columbia discovered that crustacean fisheries, like shrimp and lobster, actually create the most emissions than other fisheries. The study found a 21% increase in Greenhouse gas emissions per tonne of fish, from 1990-2011. However lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at UBC's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, Robert Parker, states that there have been economic incentives in order to persuade fisheries to decrease their fuel consumption and that a 60% increase in shrimp and lobsters caught are the result of the surprising emission increase. The reason that shrimp and lobster fisheries consume so much fuel is because they don’t live in schools, like other fish. Lobster and shrimp are more separated and therefore requires more fuel to catch them. The research also found that 4% of emissions from food production comes from fisheries, while the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and China make up 49% of the fishing emissions. This article suggests, in order to reduce emissions, to eat other fish such as herring, sardines or anchovies, which have a low carbon footprint. Parker also said, that crustacean fisheries have an equally large carbon footprint with beef and lamb producers. As well as, anyone who wishes to lower their carbon footprint, to eat vegetarian. That way there is a lower environmental impact. 

This is a scary phenomenon that wasn't fully aware of. I had no clue that fisheries emit so many emissions. I always knew they had environmental impacts, but not to this degree. Fish is a huge industry and it is an economic power for many people, that why I agree with Robert Parker, that creating incentive for fisheries to lower fuel consumption is a great idea. As long as we have fish, people with continue to fish them, and if we can do so while lowering emissions, or  not endangering the species, that would be perfect. But of course, we do not live in a perfect world. 


Lindsay, B. (2018). Fisheries emissions rising despite recent efforts, UBC study shows. CBC News. despite-recent-efforts-ubc-study-shows-1.4605606

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I chose to comment on this summary because I have never given much thought about the impacts that fisheries have on the environment. On the contrary, I thought more about how humans and the climate-changing environment affect fisheries. Much like you, I did not know much about this issue and I am surprised to find out about the intensity at which fisheries pollute. If I had to name the first problem about the fishing industry that came to mind, it would be that humans are fishing too much. Indeed, around three quarters “of major fisheries [have been] fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted” at the beginning of this millenium (Clark & Clausen, 2008). However, I know now that this is not the only important aspect to focus on regarding fisheries. In 2005, a study revealed that “fisheries burned almost 50 billion L of fuel in the process of landing just over 80 million t of marine fish and invertebrates” (Tyedmers & Al, 2005). I think that it is our responsibility as consumers to inform ourselves about where our food came from and what was sacrificed so that our groceries stores are filled with fresh foods. The same principle applies for other sources of foods, such as those coming from agriculture. Even if the issue of fisheries' emissions would be addressed, however, over fishing would still remain an issue.


Clark, B., & Clausen, R. (2008). The oceanic crisis: Capitalism and the degradation of marine ecosystems. Monthly Review, 60(3), 91-111. Retrieved from

Tyedmers, P. H., Watson, R., & Pauly, D. (2005). Fueling global fishing fleets. Ambio, 34(8), 635-8. Retrieved from

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