A study has found that New Zealand-farmed King salmon sold domestically has a significantly lower carbon footprint than beef, lamb and cheese. The study conducted by sustainability firm thinkstep-anz also noted that King salmon has a similar carbon footprint to farmed proteins such as eggs, poultry and oysters.
The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) study, commissioned by Fisheries New Zealand, in conjunction with Aquaculture New Zealand (AQNZ) and the New Zealand Salmon Farmers Association, measured the environmental impact of salmon over its life cycle, from production, packaging, and transporting, to cooking and disposal.
thinkstep-anz CEO Barbara Nebel said that the study was a great example of an industry working together to make progress. “We cooperated with 97% of the industry (four salmon growers, a salmon smolt producer and two salmon feed producers) to gather the information. Now the industry has robust data to understand, manage and communicate its environmental impact. Our study used a life cycle approach that took into account the full supply chain including the production of salmon feed. This enabled us to identify where improving practices will make the biggest diﬀerence.”
Recommendations include working with suppliers to identify lower-impact feeds and improved feeding systems and encouraging air freight companies to use lower-carbon fuels and improve their freezing and chilling technology.
King salmon, also known as Chinook salmon, is the only salmon species farmed commercially in Aotearoa New Zealand, and farms produce 75% of the world’s King salmon.
According to Mark Preece, chair of the New Zealand Salmon Farmers Association, the report offers a degree of transparency about the sustainability of New Zealand-farmed salmon, which is advantageous for both the industry and consumers. “These findings make us extremely proud to be part of a food-producing industry that is not only healthy and great tasting but is proven to have a light touch on the environment, especially compared to other farmed protein sources,” said Preece.