Greenhouse gas emissions from seafood production

Businesses must reduce emissions to meet net zero targets. Our resources can help you understand production systems and identify emissions hotspots.

The importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are contributing to global climate change. Maintaining ‘business as usual’ with continued emissions levels will intensify a changing climate. Action is needed by government, industry, and wider society to address climate change.

Recent UK legislation requires GHG emissions to be brought to net-zero by 2050, and for fisheries and aquaculture to minimise their impact on the climate. In parallel, business and energy supply pressures highlight the need for greater efficiency in seafood supply chains.

In response to these issues, we have worked with industry and other partners to gain a better understanding of GHG emissions in seafood, and identify hotspots in key seafood production systems in order to guide future industry action.

Understanding seafood production systems

Seafood is a relatively low emissions protein, making it a climate smart food choice. All food production has some environmental impact, but in seafood the carbon footprint is modest.

We have documents available which look at the emissions impact of seafood production systems. These include a briefing paper which looks at GHG emissions associated with seafood supply chains, and a review of life cycle assessment research on products derived from fisheries and aquaculture. You can download these files from the links below:

Understanding emissions hotspots in your seafood chain

Seafood carbon footprints can be further reduced by addressing emissions ‘hotspots’. Seafood product footprints tend to have several ‘hotspots’ across the supply chain – stages that produce relatively more emissions.

We have worked with the British Standards Institution, industry, and experts from around the world to establish a common approach for assessing emissions in seafood. This common approach is set out in the published assessment standard available from the link below:

We have also developed web tools to help industry explore the GHG aspects of seafood products from capture fisheries. Our entry level tool is a simple profiling tool for industry to produce an indicative GHG profile for seafood products. There’s also a more detailed profiling tool which follows the guidelines set out in the BSI PAS2050-2 assessment standard. You can access these tools from the link below:

Following consultation with stakeholders from across the seafood supply chain, we are commencing redevelopment of our seafood emissions profiling tool. This aims to provide a range of benefits to industry, and specifically to support the following outputs:

  • Understand carbon emissions associated with seafood (both wild capture and aquaculture), in the context of wider food proteins
  • Identify emissions hotspots in their product supply chains to drive improvements
  • Estimate emissions (carbon footprint) in their seafood products to support communications with customers

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more about our work on greenhouse gas emissions please contact