Alejandro Polanco, director general of Fisheries Resources at the MARM. (Photo: MARM)
'Carbon footprint', a tool for the sustainability of aquaculture
Tuesday, December 21, 2010, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
Fisheries authorities, scientists and the aquaculture sector have agreed that measuring "carbon footprint" is a useful tool for the traceability of aquaculture products, which would allow the industry to transmit their commitment to the environment to the consumer.
So said Alejandro Polanco, director general of Fisheries Resources at the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs (MARM) at the opening of a conference on "carbon footprint in aquaculture", organized by the Spanish Observatory Foundation of Aquaculture (OESA).
Polanco said that traceability will determine the quality of aquaculture products, one of the essential factors to increase their added value.
The second factor required to enhance the added value is "creating new avenues of research for breeding fish," he said.
The Director of Fisheries stressed the importance of unifying the criteria through dialogue and consensus, to measure the "carbon footprint" in aquaculture.
This measurement is the tool that will analyze carbon dioxide emissions, which according to popular opinion, can lead to the greenhouse effect.
Polanco said that the industry can use tools such as product labeling to highlight its commitment to environmental issues.
In this regard, Javier Remiro, OESA Foundation director, added that "reducing the carbon footprint of aquaculture not only be important for its tracability," but to convey to consumers that this is an activity that is making a effort to achieve greater sustainability.
For the head of OESA, carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced through various aspects of the production process, such as energy consumption, especially in inland aquaculture, and the choice of transport systems and marketing that are also tracked by the footprint measurement."
From 2012, the sector will be able to carry the ISO 14607 standard for the "carbon footprint of products", said Ivan Moya, of the Spanish Association for Standardisation and Certification (AENOR).
This standard will establish the criteria to quantify emissions of greenhouse gases and how these results may be disclosed.
In addition, one of the measures that the government is taking, is analyzing the carbon footprint as a "requirement to qualify for public tenders or a 'prize' in these processes," said Rosario Paradinas, Chief of Energy and Industries of the General Direction of Mitigation and Technologies which is part of the Climate Change Office.
Finally, in his presentation, the head of Environmental Quality and of Skretting Spain, Raul Andrés, said that the manufacture of animal feed is one of the most influential elements in the carbon footprint of aquaculture, while recognizing that such activity has very low emissions when compared to "the breeding of other livestock species such as cattle or pigs."
By Silvina Corniola