Mussel farming using various techniques evaluated using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Energy and Technology

Abstract: Food-production has a great impact on the environment and the need for a more sustainable food consumption pattern and low impact products is high. Aquaculture in general, and especially mussels are in many ways a sustainable alternative for protein source. However, depending on how the mussels are being produced, the total environmental impact varies. This study analyzes an innovative technique to farm mussels, the re-seeding technique aiming to inrease the yield and quality of mussels and examine how different methods affect the environment. The method Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used and is considering a cradle to gate perspective. The two impacts categories are climate change and eutrophication potential (EP). On the farm that is being studied the mussels are being harvested from nets and re-seeded to the optimal density on ropes to maximize the yield. To examine the impact of different method, four different scenarios are being analyzed. The result shows that the re-seeding process is relatively material and fuel intensive and the environmental impact would be lower if the mussels were left on the nets for the whole growth cycle. Compared to other mussel LCA studies, emissions are similar or lower depending on different factors such as method, time for growth and meat content. Taking in to account the mussel’s removal of nutrients during their life, the total EP of the farm is negative, which is a unique property in food production. The main contributor to emissions is the materials used on the farm and especially the cotton mesh sock that is being used to reseed the mussels.

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