Life cycle assessment of wild capture prawns: Expanding sustainability considerations in the Australian Northern Prawn Fishery
Prawns and shrimp are among the most popular seafood consumed globally and their production is responsible for a range of environmental impacts in wild capture fisheries and associated supply chains. Management of the Australian Northern Prawn Fishery has been promoted as a sustainable model for other countries to emulate, although broader environmental impacts, such as those relating to energy and water use or greenhouse gas emissions are not currently monitored under sustainability assessments. We use life cycle assessment (LCA) to assess the environmental impacts of the white banana prawn (Fenneropenaeus merguiensis). Fishing operations were the main source of impacts for the supply chain examined, contributing 4.3 kg CO2e kg-1prawn or 63% of the overall global warming potential. This result was lower than emissions reported for other prawn species, including tiger prawns from the same fishery. Processing and storage were key contributors to ecotoxicity while transport made a negligible contribution to any impact category. We discuss how LCA can complement existing fisheries management, and broaden current seafood sustainability assessments including the potential for emerging fishery-specific indicators to improve the efficacy of seafood LCAs.