Fuel use and greenhouse gas emission implications of fisheries management: the case of the new england atlantic herring fishery
Commercial fisheries are heavily dependent upon the combustion of fossil fuels and as such contribute to increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and the concomitant impact on the world's climate. The fuel use and greenhouse gas intensity of a fishery is a function of several variables. One that has not been previously investigated is the role of fisheries management. Using historical gear-specific fuel use and landings data, we employ scenarios to examine the potential impact that recent changes in the management of the New England fishery for Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) may have on fishery-related fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, we consider the direct effect of the seasonal ban of midwater trawling in favor of purse seine and fixed gears within Atlantic herring fishing Area 1A. We also evaluate the indirect effect of reductions to the Area 1A total allowable catch of Atlantic herring on the regional supply of bait and the resulting potential need to import bait herring from Canada. Our results indicate that because of the five-fold lower fuel intensity of purse seining, relative to midwater trawling (21 L/ton versus 108-118 L/ton), the seasonal ban on midwater trawling has the potential to markedly reduce overall fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the herring fishery. These results indicate that management decisions can strongly influence energy demands and resulting greenhouse gas emissions of fisheries. We urge those involved with fisheries management to take this into account when developing policy and management measures.
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