Combining ecosystem indicators and life cycle assessment for environmental assessment of demersal trawling in Tunisia

Abstract : Purpose The present study assesses environmental performance of seafood production by demersal trawling in Tunisia (Gulf of Gabes) in order to analyze the contribution of each production stage to environmental impacts and to understand drivers of the impacts using life cycle assessment (LCA). Then a set of ecosystem quality indicators were determined using an ecosystem modeling tool, Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE), and were combined with LCA to increase the relevance of both tools' assessments when applied to fisheries. Methods The approach consisted of conducting LCA and calculating ecosystem indicators to provide a complete assessment of trawling's environmental impacts and the ecosystem characteristics associated with seafood production. The functional unit for the LCA was set to 1 t of landed seafood, and system boundaries included several operational stages related to demersal trawling. Several ecosystem indicators from EwE were calculated. Demersal trawling in the exploited ecosystem of the Gulf of Gabes (southern Tunisia) was used as a case study to illustrate the applicability of the approach. Several management plans were simulated and their influence on environmental performance was assessed. Ecospace, the spatial module of EwE, was used to simulate management scenarios: establishment of marine protected areas, extension of the biological rest period, and decrease in the number of demersal trawlers. Results and discussion LCA revealed that fuel consumption by fishing vessels, fuel production, and paint and antifouling production contributed most to environmental impacts. All management plans simulated decreased environmental impacts compared with the baseline scenario. The most effective management plan is extending the rest period, which increases demersal trawler yield and greatly decreases the PPR/catch of demersal trawlers. Conclusions The method developed in this study is relevant for supplementing LCA of fisheries and potentially that of seafood production systems. It provides policy makers with practical information to help implement effective management plans in the context of an ecosystem approach to fisheries.
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Khaled Abdou, François Le Loc'h, Didier Gascuel, Mohamed Salah, Joel Aubin, et al.. Combining ecosystem indicators and life cycle assessment for environmental assessment of demersal trawling in Tunisia. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, Springer, 2019. ⟨hal-02272209⟩

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