Managing fisheries for environmental performance: The effects of marine resource decision-making on the footprint of seafood
The concept of seafood sustainability does not typically include the energetic or material demands of the capture or supply chain processes, despite the significant impacts they generate. We used life cycle assessment (LCA) to measure the environmental footprint of the supply of Tasmanian southern rock lobster, Jasus edwardsii (TSRL). International airfreight of live lobsters was the major contributor to global warming potential (GWP) and cumulative energy demand (CED) indicators, while the fishing stage accounted for the majority of impacts to eutrophication potential (EP), water use and marine aquatic ecotoxicity. The environmental footprint of the TSRL in our scenarios was responsive to marine resource management decisions made inside and outside the fishery. Targeting maximum economic yield rather than maximum sustainable yield decreased the carbon footprint by 80% or 10 kg CO2e kg-1of lobster at capture. Limiting access to the fishery by increasing the coverage of marine protected areas increased the fishery's carbon footprint by 23% or 3 kg CO2e kg-1of lobster at capture. The unintended consequences of management changes suggest that in a future of increased carbon emission regulation, marine resource decision making should not be made in isolation of broader environmental impacts.