Combined application of life cycle assessment and data envelopment analysis as a methodological approach for the assessment of fisheries

Ian Vázquez-Rowe, Diego Iribarren, Maria Teresa Moreira, Gumersindo Feijoo

Producción científica: Contribución a una revistaArtículorevisión exhaustiva

124 Citas (Scopus)


Background, aim, and scope The synergistic use of life cycle assessment (LCA) and data envelopment analysis (DEA) is proposed as a new methodological approach to link environmental and socioeconomic assessments of fisheries. Therefore, the goal is to combine LCA and DEA in order to increase the assessment ability of both tools when applied to these fisheries. Specifically, the joint inclusion of economic aspects and the consideration of currently underrepresented environmental impact categories are tackled. Materials and methods A five-step method is presented to combine LCA and DEA so that operational benchmarking and eco-efficiency verification are included together with the assessment of the environmental performance of fishing vessels. Some guidelines are also provided to orientate methodological choices in DEA. Furthermore, the applicability of the method for fisheries is discussed using a Spanish coastal trawl fishery as an example. Results The use of the five-step LCA+DEA method for fisheries demonstrated the dependence of environmental impacts on the operational performance of the vessels. Operational inefficiencies were detected and target performance improvement values were consequently defined for the inefficient vessels. The combined method favored quantification of potential eco-efficiency gains. Optional features of DEA models allowed the inclusion of controversial impact issues such as by-catch discarding. Discussion As demonstrated by the application of the method to the trawling case study, this methodology facilitates joint consideration of the environmental impacts of the fleet together with economic issues such as operational efficiency. Moreover, the potential inclusion of "bad outputs" in DEA models makes the proposed method suitable for quantifying the potential improvements in currently underrepresented issue areas such as discarding by-catch. Conclusions The proposed methodological approach was found as an adequate alternative to complement the mere use of LCA for fisheries. Its use avoids problems with standard deviations which usually arise when LCA practitioners work with average inventories. Moreover, the new approach facilitates the interpretation of the results for practitioners who deal with multiple individual LCAs for the same fishery. Furthermore, the joint application of LCA and DEA carry synergistic effects related to the link between operational efficiency and environmental impacts. Recommendations and perspectives The proposed LCA+DEA approach for fisheries is recommended for its regular use. The need of multiple input/output data for multiple vessels is not seen as a limitation in the case of fisheries research.

Idioma originalInglés
Páginas (desde-hasta)272-283
Número de páginas12
PublicaciónInternational Journal of Life Cycle Assessment
EstadoPublicada - 2010
Publicado de forma externa


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