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A global assessment of aquaculture products from a food systems and value chain perspective towards the development of a personal environmental/health impact tool.

Project Description

First Supervisor: Professor David Little, University of Stirling
Second Supervisor: Dr Jon Hillier, University of Edinburgh
Third Supervisor: Dr Richard Newton, University of Stirling

Globally, aquaculture produces more than 70 million tonnes of fish per annum with an estimated value of $160billion. It has increased 5-fold over the last 30 years and is predicted to represent 40% of global fisheries (by tonnage) by 2025 (

Recently, trends in consumption indicate a shift away from red meat consumption towards alternative sources of protein as more people adopt pescatarian, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets. But, while the human health benefits of a diet rich in oily fish and seafood have been well publicised, the consequences of such a trend on our food system are poorly understood, particularly in respect of the need to provide plant-based feeds to support the necessary growth in aquaculture and the environmental consequences of this (Shepherd et al 2017,) .

A recent Seafood Intelligence transparency report ( highlights a range of environmental, social, and societal areas in which knowledge is lacking in terms of the impacts of aquaculture, including areas concern energy and GHG emissions, biodiversity, ecosystem function, waste, and water consumption.

Of the limited number of studies on impacts of global aquaculture, they are especially lacking in contextual information related to post harvest, processing and consumption of seafood resources. These factors have a considerable impact on efficiency of resource use and the nutrition that is delivered to the consumer.

The student will develop methods to allow assessment of aquaculture in different countries, including the contribution of feed, and will develop tools which allow individual consumers to explore the contribution of their own diets in terms of environmental impacts and health.

The student will develop extensive Life Cycle Inventories of aquaculture products, following their value chains from feed production to finished product at the retailer. The student will be trained in Life Cycle Assessment modelling and interpretation to deliver meaningful and impactful results to policy makers and industry. The student and project team will develop the results to be accessible to empower multiple audiences to make informed, responsible purchase and policy decisions.

Primary data will be collected from industrial collaborators and standards’ organisations.. We expect collaboration agreement with the Cool Farm Tool organisation.

Funding Notes

BBSRC EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership

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