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Mangrove-shrimp farms in Vietnam – comparing organic and conventional systems using life cycle assessment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences. Uppsala University, Sweden.
2015 (English)In: Aquaculture, ISSN 0044-8486, E-ISSN 1873-5622, Vol. 447, 66-75 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Interactions between aquaculture and the environment remain a debated issue, especially in areas where the aquaculture sector is still expanding, such as in the Mekong delta in Vietnam. In response to environmental concerns, various eco-certification schemes have been introduced for seafood, aiming to improve production practices. In order to reflect upon the criteria of these certification schemes, life cycle assessment (LCA) was applied to conventional and certified extensive organic mangrove-shrimp farms in the lower Mekong. In total, 21 organic and 20 non-organic farms were included in the study for evaluation of effects on global warming (including emissions from land transformation and occupation), eutrophication and acidification. Monte Carlo simulations and random sampling were applied to aggregate contributing processes into results. The emissions of greenhouse gasses per ton of shrimp produced were substantial for both groups, and almost solely caused by the release of carbon during mangrove land transformation. Differences in the land area needed to support shrimp production explain the discrepancy. Organic farms emitted less CO2-equivalents (eq.) than the non-organic farms in 75% of the Monte Carlo iterations. Acidification impacts were similar for the two groups, with higher emissions from the non-organic farms in 67% of the iterations. Meanwhile, most mangrove-integrated farms showed a net uptake of eutrophying substances, indicating that both types of mangrove-shrimp production systems are nutrient limited. In order to put the results into perspective, a comparison with intensive and semi-intensive shrimp farms was made. While the extensive mangrove-shrimp farms showed higher emissions of CO2-eq. per ton shrimp produced (20 tons in average for organic and non-organic farms compared to 10 tons from intensive/semi-intensive production), results indicated lower impacts in terms of both acidification and eutrophication. We recommend LCA to be used as a central tool for identifying practices relevant for eco-certification audits, including considerations for land use. However, a better understanding of the consequences of land quality change and linkages to impacts at the ecosystem level e.g. effects on ecosystem services, is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 447, 66-75 p.
Keyword [en]
Shrimp, Aquaculture, Life cycle assessment, Organic, Eco-certification, Vietnam
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-110831DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2014.11.001ISI: 000359496700008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-110831DiVA: diva2:773090
Funder
Swedish Research Council, SWE- 2011-38
Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-12-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Eco-certification of farmed seafood: Environmental effects on local and global scale
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Eco-certification of farmed seafood: Environmental effects on local and global scale
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, 2013. 26 p.
Keyword
aquaculture, eco-certification, LCA, sustainability, mangrove-shrimp, Vietnam
National Category
Biological Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90022 (URN)
Presentation
2013-06-11, 105, Frescati Backe, Svante Arrhenius väg 21 A, Stockholm, 11:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-05-22 Created: 2013-05-20 Last updated: 2016-08-15Bibliographically approved
2. Kind of turquoise: Effects of seafood eco-certification and sustainable consumption
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Kind of turquoise: Effects of seafood eco-certification and sustainable consumption
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Aquaculture and fisheries hold promise for supplying a growing world population with healthy food produced without undermining the earth’s carrying capacity. However, just as livestock production and agriculture, seafood production can have negative environmental impacts and if a continuous or even increased supply is to be guaranteed, the pressure on affected ecosystems needs to be limited. Due in part to a perceived failure of other governance mechanisms in improving the environmental performance of the sector, a large number of voluntary market based standards for farmed and wild caught seafood have been developed. Nonetheless, the knowledge base on the extent to which implementation leads to environmental improvements remains limited. Moreover, the role of consumers in driving demand for eco-labeled seafood is presently an under-researched area. This thesis aims at reducing this knowledge gap through an examination of the potential environmental effectiveness of aquaculture eco-certification and internal, psychological variables predicted to be of importance for sustainable seafood consumption. Put differently, what is the potential of eco-certification in greening the blue revolution and fuel ‘turquoise growth’, and how can consumer demand be spurred?

In Paper I, the role of eco-certification in improving the growing aquaculture sector at large was explored. Results showed that environmental effects at global scale likely will be limited due to e.g. partial coverage of species groups and environmental impacts, and a lack of focus on Asian markets and consumers. In Paper II the environmental performance of eco-certified and non-certified mangrove-integrated shrimp farms in Vietnam was compared by using Life Cycle Assessment and put in relation to conventional, more intensive farms. While there was no substantial difference between certified and non-certified farms in terms of environmental impacts, emissions of greenhouse gasses were higher for mangrove-integrated than conventional farms due to mangrove land use change. The results from Paper III demonstrated that the body of literature investigating ecological effects of seafood eco-certification is limited. ‘Spatially explicit ecosystem service information’ (ES-information) on e.g. key ecosystem services and biodiversity in a given area is suggested to have potential to improve sustainability standards. Taking guidance from the pro-environmental behavior literature, consumers in Stockholm, Sweden were consulted on awareness of and attitudes towards eco-labeled seafood (Paper IV-V). Two variables, concern for environmental impacts and knowledge about seafood eco-labels were the best predictors for stated eco-labeled seafood purchasing. Moreover, there seemed to be a misalignment between consumers’ expectations on eco-labeled food in general and certification requirements for eco-labeled seafood.

From this set of findings, a number of improvements of current seafood eco-certification are suggested. First, include an LCA-perspective in standards to a higher degree than presently done and provide readily available ES-information in the implementation and evaluation phase of certification. Second, introduce standardized mechanisms for capturing potential environmental improvements over time. And finally, stimulate demand by targeting Asian consumers and markets as well as strengthen consumer eco-label awareness and emotional involvement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, 2016. 65 p.
Keyword
eco-certification, eco-labeling, seafood, aquaculture, shrimp, LCA, consumer behavior
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Marine Ecotoxicology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-132676 (URN)978-91-7649-486-8 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-10-07, Vivi Täckholmsalen (Q-salen), NPQ-huset, Frescativägen 20, Stockholm, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Sida - Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SWE-2011-38
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 5: Manuscript.

 

Available from: 2016-09-14 Created: 2016-08-18 Last updated: 2016-09-14Bibliographically approved

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