Marine park and windfarm lockups hit carbon footprint

A new research paper has just been released which shows that in the European Economic Zone, the commercial fishing exclusions introduced from Marine Park Areas (MPAs) and offshore windfarms is having an increased carbon (and economic) impact upon the fishing fleet.  This is primarily due to the diversions and extra distances required, which have led to a 100% increase in fuel use – and obviously less economic efficiency.

The paper titled: Spatial restrictions inadvertently doubled the carbon footprint of Norway’s mackerel fishing fleet” showed the catch per fishing trip almost halved, while the number of trips per vessel doubled. As a result, fuel use intensity more than doubled per kg mackerel.  This added 23 million litres of fuel use per year, with increased fuel costs of 18 million Euros annually and emitting an additional 72,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The policy change undid 15 years of improved fuel efficiency in Norwegian fisheries management.  The findings provide valuable empirical evidence as to how spatial restrictions will undermine progress towards decreasing greenhouse gas emissions in fisheries.  This emphasises the need for government to consider these trade-offs in marine spatial management.

A copy of the report can be seen here.

Unfortunately, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions in its marine park planning, has not given any consideration whatsoever to the impacts upon the carbon footprint of fishing.  Nor has it looked at the social and economic impacts upon local communities.  Nor has it considered the statewide cumulative impacts upon fishing from other marine parks or planned windfarms, nor upon the state’s seafood security, nor of the resultant increase in frozen fish imports from environmentally damaging sources in the northern hemisphere.

Darryl Hockey
Chief Executive Officer
WA Fishing Industry Council