A set of sustainability performance indicators for seafood: Direct human consumption products from Peruvian anchoveta fisheries and freshwater aquaculture
Different seafood products based on Peruvian anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) fisheries and freshwater aquaculture of trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), tilapia (Oreochromis spp.) and black pacu (Colossoma macropomum), contribute at different scales to the socio-economic development, environmental degradation and nutrition of the Peruvian population. Various indicators have been used in the literature to assess the performance of these industries regarding different aspects of sustainability, notably their socio-economic performance. In this study, a novel set of indicators is proposed to evaluate the sustainability performance of these industries in Peru, based on life cycle assessment (LCA) and nutritional profiling, as well as on energy and socio-economic assessment approaches. The emphasis is put on the potential of different products to contribute to improving the nutrition of the Peruvian population in an energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and socio-economically sound way. The set of indicators includes biotic resource use (BRU), cumulative energy demand (CED), energy return on investment (EROI), production costs, gross profit generation, added value, and nutritional profile in terms of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids; as well as a number of life cycle impact assessment indicators commonly used in seafood studies, and some recently proposed indicators of resource status (measuring the impacts of fish biomass removal at the species and ecosystem levels). Results suggest that more energy-intensive/highly processed products (cured and canned anchoveta products) represent a higher burden, in terms of environmental impact, than less energy-intensive products (salted and frozen anchoveta products, semi-intensive aquaculture products). This result is confirmed when comparing all products regarding their industrial-to-nutritional energy ratio. Regarding the other attributes analysed, the scoring shows that salted and frozen anchoveta products generate fewer jobs and lower gross profit than canned and cured, while aquaculture products maximise them. Overall, it was concluded that less energy-intensive industries (anchoveta freezing and salting) are the least environmentally impacting but also the least economically interesting products, yet delivering higher nutritional value. Aquaculture products maximise gross profit and job creation, with lower energy efficiency and nutritional values. The proposed set of sustainability indicators fulfilled its goal in providing a multi-criteria assessment of anchoveta direct human consumption and freshwater aquaculture products. As often the case, there is no ideal product and the best trade-off must be sought when making decision regarding fisheries and seafood policy. No threshold for performance of the different indicators is offered, because the goal of the comparison is to contrast the relative performance among products, not of products against reference values.