back to article Eat frozen food and avoid line-caught fish, says eco study

Enviro-profs studying the ecological impact of food production have come out with some counter-intuitive results. According to a new study, it is greener to eat frozen salmon than fresh, and catching fish en masse in nets does less damage to the planet than taking just a few using hooks and lines. The new research was carried …

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FAIL

Farmed salmon

The study you cite concerns salmon farming. I'm pretty sure salmon farmers would never catch fish with a hook and line.

The Greenpeace advice is to do with the sustainability of fish stocks and avoiding bycatch, not the efficiency of the method.

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Better?

The study focusses solely on carbon emissions. There are other factors in choosing your fish such as the pollution caused by many (but not all) fish farms and conservation of fish stocks.

If their purpose was to muddy the waters of the enviro-fishing debate they've done well. If they actually intended to contribute towards it then this narrow study has been a complete waste of time.

Who was it sponsored by, Iceland?

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Anonymous Coward

Line caught

The point being that line caught catches *fewer*, hence more expensive fish, whereas these guys have assumed 1 for 1, which would mean catching the same number of fish in a less efficient way.

But that would only work if we weren't depleting fish stocks faster than they were being replenished, and so note that they concentrated on *farmed* salmon, hence the depletion problem doesn't come into it.

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Silver badge

This study can kiss my pasty white butt ...

The only fish I eat is fish I catch and cook for myself (or get from fishermen I trust ... HELLO, Noyo Harbor! I'll love you forever!).

All line caught. By me. Or by somebody I know. In the last 12-24 hours.

Store-bought fish just plain doesn't cut it ... it's narsty, no matter what angle you squint at it ... Too many middle-men, too many hours between water & cash register, too much markup, and not enough clarity on path between consumer and fisherman. Just say no to store-bought fish.

Frozen fish? Pfaguagh ... That ain't fish. That's a slimy, smelly, fish-like protein substitute.

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IT Angle

Hmmm

Odd, the only fish I tend to eat is Birdseye. Preferably of the Fish Finger Variety. Although battered/breadcrumbed is also good.

Oh and the local chippy does a wonderful battered cod.

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Silver badge
FAIL

So chnage the measure

Out with "food miles" (surely it should have been "food kilometres" anyway?) and in with "food mega/giga/exajoules" or "food co2" (how much energy, roughly, was used to get the food from source to shop).

Moving anything by ship is the most efficient way if most cases. This is why we need the canals open again. So long as the items are not time-critical (which is an anathema to JIT processes) they can come by barge.

Of course shipping things misses out one vital part. Getting it to the shop. Our rail infrastructure is a laughing stock* and even if you bring the stuff here by the most efficient ship ever built, all the trucks tearing up the motorway to move the goods kinda makes a mockery of the whole thing. Why aren't the ports also railway freight terminals**? Goods from ship, to warehouse, sort, then on to the train (or even, straight from the ship to the train). That way the only trucks needed are a few to cover the last few miles to the shops.

But, of course, that takes joined up thinking; something the EU and our government aren't good at. They'd rather waste millions bringing us under the heel of total observation than do the jobs for which they were elected. Well, OK, in the case of the EU they weren't elected, but you know what I mean.

Anyway, back on topic. There are other concerns with net fishing than just the fuel used. There's the number of fish caught and thrown away and the number of young caught. Over fishing is a serious problem and even if line fishing is less efficient, if it helps preserve stocks in it might actually be the better option.

This study does point out one thing though - why one must be very careful about the dogma spouted by the greenies. They are now responsible for perfectly good cars being scrapped and new "efficient" ones being bought - new ones that have to be built and consume way more resources than they could possible save. Well done greenies! Another pyrrhic victory for you!

*Just look at the fiasco over the half-arsed attempts to electrify the lines. If one section isn't electrified, then you either need

** On that note, why don't airports have their own rail hubs? Who needs a third railway at Heathrow if you could take a hi-speed train from their straight to another airport? Greatly reduced need for domestic flights, so no need for a third runway. From the airport if should only take a few minutes to get to the city. Imagine getting on at Newcastle and being at Heathrow check-in (say) in two hours. If the French can do it, why can't Britain. Did Napoleon beat us after all?

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Headmaster

@The BigYin

"Of course shipping things misses out one vital part. Getting it to the shop. Our rail infrastructure is a laughing stock* and even if you bring the stuff here by the most efficient ship ever built, all the trucks tearing up the motorway to move the goods kinda makes a mockery of the whole thing. Why aren't the ports also railway freight terminals**? Goods from ship, to warehouse, sort, then on to the train (or even, straight from the ship to the train ). That way the only trucks needed are a few to cover the last few miles to the shops."

The railways are excellent at moving lots of the same thing from point to point at high speed. Such as coal for power stations, moving containers cross-country from port to port (all ports are also rail freight terminals by the way, have a look on Google Maps) or to large distribution depots, and then via road to the customer. This is known as "train-load freight". What they are not so good at is moving "wagon-load" or "less-than-wagon-load" freight. This is more expensive and slower than road transport because it requires more sorting, transhipment from wagon to wagon, train to train. This has been the case since the 1920s when army surplus vans and lorries became widely available following WW1.

It's all very well you blaming politicians or the dread EU for a lack of joined up thinking but really you should point the finger at the consumer for wanting cheaper food and quicker delivery.

Mine's the one with the 1955 Modernisation Plan in the pocket.

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@BigYin

"Moving anything by ship is the most efficient way if most cases. This is why we need the canals open again. So long as the items are not time-critical (which is an anathema to JIT processes) they can come by barge."

Except, of course, that there is a financial cost in the delay as well as just food spoiling. I've travelled by barge: a trip across the country could easily take the best part of a couple of weeks (and then some), so your money in stock would be tied up for all that time. You'd also be paying someone's wages for the duration. Plus, the canal system simply does not have the capacity required. For proof, stand by the M6 and count the lorries for an hour. Imagine trying to get that many barges per hour down the canal that runs parallel. Apart from that lot, barge delivery is fine.

"Why aren't the ports also railway freight terminals**?."

Erm, Southampton Station (where I catch a train most weeks) has a pretty regular flow of goods trains coming through from the port. See: http://preview.tinyurl.com/ykvk4xg

"This study does point out one thing though - why one must be very careful about the dogma spouted by the greenies. They are now responsible for perfectly good cars being scrapped and new "efficient" ones being bought - new ones that have to be built and consume way more resources than they could possible save. Well done greenies! Another pyrrhic victory for you!"

Couldn't agree more.

O

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A lot to think about here.

How to fish sustainably, how to stop illegal fishing, how to have good/ healthy (enough) fish to eat.

I would suggest that:

we invest heavily in fish farms,

we should stop sea fishing entirely, for 10 or 20 years at least, and allow stocks to recover.

any ship caught with lines, nets or non-personal fishing equipment at sea is either sunk or scrapped,

everyone gets used to eating salmon or other farmed fish - unless they catch it themselves legally, and if they don't like it then they can shut up.

Is there any other stategy that will allow a sustainable population of fish in, say, 100 years time?

From what I have read it would seem that if something drastic is not done (and enforced) pretty soon then our childrens' children won't know what a fish is.

Everything else seems to be just delaying the inevitable.

just my thoughts.

ttfn

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Alert

Doesn't quite work :-(

Unfortunately, farmed fish need to be fed.

Farmed salmon are fed with fish meal and fish oil from sea-caught fish. If all we ate was farmed salmon then *more* would need to be caught from the see, rather than less.

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Joke

Sustainable

There was a guy who worked wonders with 2 fishes and 5 loaves.

He could sort you out a nice glass of wine for afters too.

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Coat

Makes sense...

in terms of the criteria used. Transport is as important a part of the green issue as much as catching (or making) what every it is you are moving.

How about a new concept to sit along Food (Energy) Miles - Leisure Miles!

This would put a green value on the plastic tat that is shipped to this country from China.

I'm fairly sure if you took the costs (of all kind) of making some cheap toy in China shipping it to the UK, binning it when it breaks irreparably in half and replacing it with a new one we would be exorted by the activists to return to die cast metal.

Mines the one with pockets full of Corgi and Dinky cars from the 1970s (but not with the boxes they came in)

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Bronze badge

Economics and counter-inutitive conclusions

Now I'm not exactly always in agreement with Lews when he goes off on one of his ScFi, flying car or selective misuse of statistics trips. However, in this general area, there is, indeed a lot of counter-intuitive stuff. I'd agree whole heartedly that the whole "food miles" thing is wildly misused and misleading. For instance, the Supermarkets get hammered for their use of centralised depots and bulk distribution. However, if you start looking at the actual fuel used compared to local distribution and the fact that local distribution requires very large numbers of short journeys with vehicles less than optimally loaded, the supermarket distribution model is often far more fuel efficient. After all, fuel costs money - it is in the supermarkets interests to optimise transport costs, of which fuel is a very large part (of course there is a fuel cost issue with people travelling by car to centralised supermarkets, but that's a ratgher different matter).

Then there is the kicking the supermarkets get for generating excessive waste. However, again, it's not in the supermarkets interests to generate waste. They have very sophisticated ways of managing stocks and demands and modern food preservation systems (including freezing) are far less wasteful than the techniques of the past (which truly did have much loss of food due to spoiling, pests and so on). it's funadamentally impossible to avoid some food wastage, and the wider and better the choice to consumers, then the higher that will be. But there are still ways of dealing with it - unused food can be used in other parts of the food chain (such as animial feed), or even in anaerobic digesters.

As for food miles - adding up the total mileage travelled by the food on your plate makes absolutely no sense at all. Does that sprinkle of pepper from Asia suddenly add 6,000 miles? Of course not - it's the total energy input that matters, which is a far more relevant measure. It's also a measure that can very neatly get wrapped up in the costs of transportation. Fill a refrigerated ship with frozen good, and the energy input per Kg-mile involved in transportation is tiny. Drive to your local supermarket for a packet of asparagaus and that same number is huge.

The lesson on all this is to use economics to change behaviour. It is, for instance, completely ridiculous to tax 4WD vehice owners just for posession. What you want to do is tax the usage of fuel, something which fuel duty does very well.

Of course many of the fantics in this area want to micro-manage people's lives with often, counter-productive advice (or maybe orders might be a better way). For instance, those boxes of organic vegetables delivered to your doorstep via a local farmer are very likely to have used more energy, and involved more wastage, than the same goods delivered by a supermarket.

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Grenade

@The Big Yin

No, Napoleon didn't beat you - if he had, you Brits as a nation might have a halfway decent transport infrastructure and some respect for where your food comes from.

Anon, for obvious brit-baiting reasons...

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Troll

Food Police

Have just issued a Red Herring.

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Title

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day.

Teach a man to freeze fish, and he'll save the planet.

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Stop

Feck that.

Can I just eat the fish that tastes the best? Or doesn't that matter with food anymore -- it's all about the 'green' credentials.

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what carbon waste!

I'm sorry but nothing better than a fresh fish. It does not contain a bunch of "E" substances (man made) to conserve it on a tin-can.

Beside the eco-warriors forget to add into the equation is the energy wasted recycling the tin-can, water wasted cleaning the tin-can and removing the label and food oil that support... all that wasted just to be possible to recycle the tin-can and doesn't even get closer to 99% reusable.

So allot of waste in this carbon recommendation no cense.

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Anonymous Coward

Scrappage scheme was done for economic reasons

The BigYin: "[..] one must be very careful about the dogma spouted by the greenies. They are now responsible for perfectly good cars being scrapped and new "efficient" ones being bought - new ones that have to be built and consume way more resources than they could possible save. Well done greenies!"

That's right, blame the "greenie" strawmen.

Anyone with half a brain can see that the car scrappage scheme wasn't started for green reasons. It was an economic stimulus package created to keep the car industry going in the face of recession. The "green" aspect was a blatant coat of paint applied afterwards to help sell it to the public (as much to counteract the most obvious objection that the scheme which is that it'd be wasteful).

If this article is to believed, it was the car manufacturers pushing for it anyway:-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5932f628-2fa0-11de-a8f6-00144feabdc0.html?nclick_check=1

And who counts as a "greenie"? A long-respected environmental campaigner? An unrepresentative extremist able to be held up as a strawman for the whole movement by anti-environmentalists? A politician who isn't actually green, but says he's doing something for green reasons (see above)?

It's not like the environmental movement is homogenous anyway; your use of the term "greenie" is the equivalent of smearing/associating them all with one particular strawman environmentalist of one's choice (intentionally or otherwise), much like "political correctness" is often used to brand and smear anything vaguely left-wing.

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Farmer protectionism

And here's cynical old me thinking that Food Miles were nothing more than an attempt by our farmers to make us feel guilty about not buying British food, enabling them to wrap protectionism in a nice, cuddly, green blanket.

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lies and statistics

this is published the same week as a report shows that just 16 ships produce more pollution than all the cars on earth - http://bit.ly/8rKYRL

at the end of the day no-one is sharing a complete picture. there is always an agenda (hidden or not) and a need to prove a particular point.

During the Watergate scandal, 'Deep Throat' told investigative reporters to 'follow the money' ... it's just as true today

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O RLY?

If you're going to get all hoity-toity about accuracy, you might want to add a few qualifiers to your own statements. That study estimates that the top 16 ship emitters release as much sulphur as all the worlds cars (plus a lot of other muck), not that they (or even all ships combined) are worse polluters than cars overall. I seem to remember that cars in the US alone release 1.5Bn tons of CO2, which is 50% more than your study quotes for all ships in the world. And that's not factoring in NOx, brake dust, antifreeze, engine oil and all the other gunk that cars are responsible for. And it's not like low-sulphur diesel is standard in every country. Overall, the worlds total car fleet probably generates many times as much pollution as the worlds ship fleet. Details details, pay attention.

Still agree with you that they need to get people off bunker C as fast as possible - there's just no excuse for burning that stuff any more.

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Reminds me

In the long ago past when I was a Marine Engineer the things we would get up to would make your hair stand on end, playing with hydrazine anyone?. The bunkers we would run the engines on (steam and diesel (sic)) was evil stuff you should have seen the crud when we steam cleaned the superheaters tubes.

Funnily enough in the Gulf bunkers was half the price of water, $50 per ton compared to $100 if I recall correctly!

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FAIL

fish farmers say farmed fish better shocker

Flying fish? The majority of the world's population lives within a couple of hours drive to the ocean. Who gets fish flown in? Anybody in the UK? I suppose for some exoctic species. The minority in the world who are too far from the coast, well I'll bet there is a lake nearby.

Food miles are not a hard and fast rule, but far from useless. It's better for me in North America to eat a farmed fish shipped by boat from Sweden than to eat a wild fish caught off local shores? Really? Fish from local shores are about as likely to take a container ship ride to me as fish from sweden are to get on a plane. If you compare the regular mode of travel for farmed frozen fish to the far fetched mode of travel for a minority of wild caught fish, then sure I guess you could come to some odd conclusions.

And if you're talking about farmed fish, how about the difference between off shore net cage fish farms and on shore contained fish farms. And the damage that open net fish farming can do to local wild populations.

"Catching salmon in large nets as they school together has one tenth the impact of catching them in small numbers using baited hooks and lures."

I might not be laughing so hard if you had mentioned any reasons why anybody would say something like that.

"Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Light that man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life."

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Anonymous Coward

Can I be.........

Can I be the first to say that there is something fishy about all this.

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Boffin

Missing the point

Surely the point of food miles is simply to point out that we should be eating local produce - in this case, locally caught fish. Regardless of the relative merits of whisking fish half way around the world by air, or ferrying them around in bloody great freezer-ships, it can hardly be denied that eating a locally caught fresh fish is going to be the most efficient (and tasty) course of action.

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Thumb Down

What a load of crap.

Thats a pretty shitty report, if you dont mind me saying so. Hes saying to reduce carbon emissions, buy frozen fish. Why not buy locally caught fish? Surely that makes more sense? I dont buy veg thats not in season cos its not local. I dont therefore buy it frozen.

Utter shite.

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Anonymous Coward

Missing the point completely

The whole point of food miles is to encourage use of local produce. Using local, in season, produce has much wider positive benefits to the area you live in than just the analysis of CO2 output.

What a disingenuous report that is.

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Gold badge

@Paul_Murphy

"just my thoughts"

No. Mine too.

It's odd. No-one would seriously suggest that beef, mutton or pork should be produced by sending a bloke out with a shotgun and net in search of wild herds, and it is pretty obvious that if we had "factory hunting" then we'd run out of food within a few years. No, for the last few millenia it has been pretty obvious that if you want food then you have to take responsibility for creating (sowing or rearing) it.

Except for fish, where farming is seen as some kind of second-class option and "factory fishing" is regarded as an acceptable application of modern industrial know-how. (People, eh? Fucking stupid tossers, the lot of 'em.)

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Stop

Everyone is missing the point

The entire paper is about carbon emissions. Not sure where the bold quotes in the reg article came from they don't appear to be in the paper. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es9010114

It doesn't even mention line caught fish as far as I can see.

Again: Carbon emissions and environmental impact is all the paper is interested in, whether the fish is of nutritional value to the person who eats it is irrelevant and for some other scholar to investigate.

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conservation the best?

Deep frozen food has been introduced in the 80's and its process isn't entirely healthy... it is far better than tin-can food no doubt since it doesn't contain bunch of conservation substances. But then just analyse the water on that ice - back in those years conservation substances were added on.

Therefore it cannot be better or even compared to fresh fish... It was is one way of reaching markets that other way would have seen fish beside be in tin-can... but not mean to be replacement for fresh fish.

The problem isn't how it appears on the shelves but the method that is used in catching. One other matter and this is revolting is fisherman being forced to throw back to the sea dead fish catched (not the case of small fish) but just because once they reached certain "political" fish quotas.

Anyway, only the wallet dictates the food you eat and of course some eco-warriors would want to force the public to think otherwise.

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Bronze badge

@The BigYin

You can forget canals for moving other than bulk. They suffer from all the problems of rail and more (limited geographical coverage, problems in hilly terrain, expensive infrastructure, inflexibility and hopelessly uneconomic for small batches to which you can add that they are incredibly slow and require vast amounts of manpower). Canals will only make sense on flat terrain for large, bulk loads and are wholly useless as a way of distributing things like food to shops.

In the case of rail there did, indeed, used to be a system in the UK of distributing small, mixed loads from railheads and depots. However, it died in the 1960s because it was essentially hopeless. I recall from my childhood the local rail depot with lots of tiny little loads being hauled out around the locality on trailers towed by little three wheel tractor units like this one.

http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/len_rogers/2009/april_cd/batch06/scammell-br.jpg

The whole process was hopeless. All the multi-handling and scheduling of mixed loads into goods vans and the shuffling around and shunting to make it work was dreadful. Cans stuck in sidings, goods taking weeks to traverse the system and being man-handled between goods vans, from and onto road vehicles. Not only was it disastrously inefficient, it was also not very energy efficient either. Both canal and rail only worked at all because, at the time, there were vast amounts of very cheap labour available. Those days dies with the Edwardians.

Rail only make sense as point-to-point delivery of bulk deliveries. By all means deliver a trainload of stuff from the dockside to a distribution depot.

I'm sorry to dissapoint the rail folk, but the economics are disastrous for any other use of moving goods. For moving small, mixed, workloads to multiple locations, the use of road transport is generally much more efficient in both cost and energy terms. Mixed-load rail systems often involved horribly convoluted journeys. Then there is the terrifying cost of installing, maintaining and operating rail infrastructure.

It's not even as if rail is necessarily more energy efficient that road transport. Look up the CO2 emmissions per passenger mile of an inter-city train and a coach. The latter is far more efficient, especially when the required infrastructure is taken into account. Passenger densities on rail are dreadful (all those enormous gaps between trains for safety reasons) and very inflexible.

So keep rail for high speed alternatives to flying, and for local commuting in densely populated areas (where bulk movement of people through dedicated paths can make sense). But for general distribution - it's a dead duck that hasn't quacked for several decades and isn't going to get revived.

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FAIL

Missing the point

When will the eco-hippies understand the problem isn't lines or nets, it's not carbon footprints, there are simply too many people on the planet for the resources to support.

Reduce the birthrate, reduce the number of mouths to feed and we can all chew as much fuel, gadgets and food as we like.

Still, I'm not having kids, I don't care

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Dead Vulture

Fed up

To the mods (who will probably block this), I am fed up with the science reporting on the Register. You can't base an entire article from one (often dodgy) citation, "The new research was carried out [by] Nova Scotia..." to push an opinion.

It is becoming predictable, to say the least, that when I click on a science related link that it will be mostly opinions and poo-pooing of often well cited studies. Your opinions are often based on only one other study done by someone with an axe to grind.

Other general bias and censorship of legitimate comments is also doing my head in. So without further ado, bye.

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Badgers

@James 55

bye

I dunno who is eating all this fish, certainly not anyone in my household. Seafood is mostly disgusting and slimy and should, in my opinion, stay in the sea. I also think it's inhumane to kill fish by just dumping them on a shipdeck and watching them drown in oxygen. We kill most of our food humanely but fish we don't seem to care about? Boiling lobsters alive anyone?

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Paris Hilton

Just in time to add Paris!

> Fed up: To the mods (who will probably block this), I am fed up with the science reporting on the Register. You can't base an entire article from one (often dodgy) citation, "The new research was carried out [by] Nova Scotia..." to push an opinion.

An opinion is just that: an opinion.

There is all sorts out there, and it is one's duty not to read only from groups that shares one's beliefs, but also expose oneself to other lines of thought, as painful or dull as this might sometimes be: one person's dullness is someone else's eye opener. Otherwise thought itself disappears, which seems more and more common on the internet, where people only subscribe to feeds and read blogs that conform to their values or interests. See John Dvorak's (yeah I know, not a great philosopher!) take on this: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2307211,00.asp

Food miles:

What an idiocy!: UK tomatoes sold in London use more CO2 than spanich ones coming by truck, because they require heated green houses. Likewise for NZ lamb, etc. This concept reeks of protectionism. Giving economy-based decisions a green coat of paint is very popular, even if they have negative environmental results (see also car crushing above).

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