Environmental sustainability in fisheries is typically defined as protecting target species, bycatch, and habitats. However, the fishing operations and seafood supply chain have a broader environmental impact due to the use of fossil fuels in fishing operations and transportation to markets.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach can be used to measure the environmental footprint, taking into account the potential impacts of emissions at all stages of production, capture, storage, packaging, and transport to market destinations. Fossil fuel use has an effect that is categorized according to global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential, and cumulative energy demand.
At present, there are no estimations of the potential environmental impacts resulting from the use of fossil fuels in the giant crab fishery in Tasmania. However, we can infer a relative tendency of the fishing operation’s potential impact from the fishing effort measured as vessel days, assuming that more time spent at sea indicates a greater potential impact.
The stock’s decline of giant crab has led to a reduction of the annual total allowable catch, which has implied a reduction of the vessel’s time in the sea (vessel days) from an average of 225 days in the early 2000s to 100 days in the early 2020s. Further research is necessary to obtain more accurate estimations and cover the whole cycle from capture to the destination market.