University Of Tasmania

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Domestic or imported? An assessment of carbon footprints and sustainability of seafood consumed in Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 11:35 authored by Farmery, AK, Caleb GardnerCaleb Gardner, Bridget GreenBridget Green, Sarah JenningsSarah Jennings, Reginald WatsonReginald Watson
The distance between where food is produced and consumed is increasing, and is often taken as evidence of an unsustainable global food system. Seafood is a highly traded commodity yet seafood sustainability assessments do not typically consider the impacts of the movement of products beyond the fishery or farm. Here we use life cycle assessment to examine the carbon footprint of the production and distribution of select seafood products that are consumed in Australia and determine differences in the sustainability of imports and their domestically produced counterparts. We found that the distance food is transported is not the main determinant of food sustainability. Despite the increased distance between production and consumption, carbon footprints of meals from imported seafood are similar to meals consisting of domestically produced seafood, and sometimes lower, depending on the seafood consumed. In combining LCA with existing seafood sustainability criteria the trade-offs between sustainability targets become more apparent. Carbon ‘footprinting’ is one metric that can be incorporated in assessments of sustainability, thereby demonstrating a broader perspective of the environmental cost of food production and consumption.


Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania


Publication title

Environmental Science and Policy








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Sci Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox5 1Gb

Rights statement

Copyright 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified