Life cycle assessment of European anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus) landed by purse seine vessels in northern Spain

Jara Laso, Ian Vázquez-Rowe, María Margallo, Rosa M. Crujeiras, Ángel Irabien, Rubén Aldaco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Purpose: The main purpose of this article is to assess the environmental impacts associated with the fishing operations related to European anchovy fishing in Cantabria (northern Spain) under a life cycle approach. Methods: The life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology was applied for this case study including construction, maintenance, use, and end of life of the vessels. The functional unit used was 1 kg of landed round anchovy at port. Inventory data were collected for the main inputs and outputs of 32 vessels, representing a majority of vessels in the fleet. Results and discussion: Results indicated, in a similar line to what is reported in the literature, that the production, transportation, and use of diesel were the main environmental hot spots in conventional impact categories. Moreover, in this case, the production and transportation of seine nets was also relevant. Impacts linked to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions suggest that emissions were in the upper range for fishing species captured with seine nets and the value of global warming potential (GWP) was 1.44 kg CO2 eq per functional unit. The ecotoxicity impacts were mainly due to the emissions of antifouling substances to the ocean. Regarding fishery-specific categories, many were discarded given the lack of detailed stock assessments for this fishery. Hence, only the biotic resource use category was computed, demonstrating that the ecosystems’ effort to sustain the fishery is relatively low. Conclusions: The use of the LCA methodology allowed identifying the main environmental hot spots of the purse seining fleet targeting European anchovy in Cantabria. Individualized results per port or per vessel suggested that there are significant differences in GHG emissions between groups. In addition, fuel use is high when compared to similar fisheries. Therefore, research needs to be undertaken to identify why fuel use is so high, particularly if it is related to biomass and fisheries management or if skipper decisions could play a role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1107-1125
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2018


  • Engraulis encrasicolus
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Industrial ecology
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Pelagic fisheries
  • Purse seining


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