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Tuna Purse Seining More Fuel Efficient Than Other Fisheries Global, March 12, 12

Today the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) released a report on the carbon footprint of global tuna fisheries, a study conducted by Dr. Peter Tyedmers and Robert Parker of Dalhousie University. The report, titled Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Global Tuna Fisheries: A Preliminary Assessment studied the fuel usage of different types of fishing gear and how all tuna fisheries measure up against other large-scale fisheries.

Tyedmers and Parker found that tuna products tend to be less energy-intensive than many aquaculture and livestock-derived sources of protein. More broadly, the data suggests that the global tuna fishing fleet, for all gear types, used approximately three billion liters of fuel in 2009 and produced nine million tons of carbon dioxide.

Breaking down the data by fishing gear, the research notes that, “vessels fishing tuna with purse seine, while accounting for 64% of global landings of the five principal species, account for only 37% of total fuel use, as a result of the significantly lower FUI of these vessels.”  The study found that purse seine vessels burned an average of 368 liters of fuel per live weight ton of landings, while other gears averaged between 1070 liters burned per ton for longline and 1490 liters burned per ton for pole and line vessels. While fuel use varies greatly between these different gear types, the data available would not allow the authors to determine with absolute certainty that the existence of this disparity is due to the type of gear used.

ISSF President Susan Jackson commented, “A vessel’s carbon footprint is not the only measure of environmental impact, however understanding fuel usage is necessary when reviewing the sustainability of global tuna fisheries.”

Measurements used in the assessment include:

• Vessel length, gross registered tonnage, and engine horsepower;
• Fishing locations, FAO areas, and EEZ countries;
• Primary and secondary gears;
• Use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs);
• Days on fishing trips and days actively fishing tuna;
• Total Fuel Consumption; and
• Landings of all tuna and non-tuna species.