What is it about?

If climate change is to be prevented from causing unwanted, widespread environmental, economic and social impact, we must address how much greenhouse gases (GHG) we are emitting. With food production being a high contributor to global GHG emission levels, one of the first steps of this is determining how much GHGs are emitted by each food product to identify the most sustainable options. Seafood products can range from both relatively high and very low carbon footprints. This study assessed the fisheries for Atlantic mackerel, Atlantic herring and blue whiting, which make up a large proportion of Scottish fish landings. It found that fuel burned during fishing was the biggest contributor to the overall carbon footprint for landing one kilogram of whole round fish, and that the carbon footprint was found to be lower than that of most other seafood. Our results demonstrate that Scottish-caught pelagic fish are a low carbon food source that could contribute to minimising food-related GHG emissions.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

This works helps us better understand the climate related impacts of Scottish fish capture, which is of significant social and economic importance. In addition it identifies Scottish caught pelagic fish as a food source that is low impact and can contribute towards Net Zero.


This work is intended to help identify locally produced low carbon food sources for Scotland, to help towards the National goal to reach Net Zero by 2045. It highlights our national fishery for pelagic fish as a sustainable option for high quality protein.

Dr Frances Sandison
The James Hutton Institute

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The environmental impacts of pelagic fish caught by Scottish vessels, Fisheries Research, April 2021, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.fishres.2020.105850.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page