Category Archives : Environment

Environmental issues

MCS promote trout as their fish of the month!

BTA work closely with a number of organisations in the NGO community, and for a number of years we have had a close working relationship with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS). 


We are delighted therefore that MCS have chose to promote our species as their “fish of the month” for April!  Why not take a look at the MCS website to see the delicious recipe that they have provided for us all to try – trout with hazelnuts and sage.  This recipe has been developed by C J Jackson of the Billingsgate Seafood School, another friend to the Association.

We are proud that MCS are keen to acknowledge the importance of farmed fish in the sustainability agenda.  Many do not understand all of the issues that surround fish farming – or operate with only a hazy knowledge of a farming system that changed so long ago it would be unrecognisable to the modern fish farmer – and we are only too happy to work with groups like MCS that are keen to promote sustainable fish farming.

MCS carefully consider issues such as feed sustainability, husbandry systems and environmental impacts in their fish assessments – and so we are keen to let everyone know of this endorsement they have provided us through selecting trout to be their (farmed) fish of the month. 

Once again it just goes to show that trout equates to guilt free eating and a product you can have every confidence in!

Environmental impacts of trout farming – the life cycle analysis approach

We were fascinated to read a recent article via explaining research that shows rainbow trout farming causes less damage to the environment than the farming of animal products such as beef, pork or chicken.

 Their article reports that this is the conclusion of a pioneering study involving rainbow trout producer IPEASA and fish feed manufacturer Skretting, conducted by the Technology Center of Miranda de Ebro (CTME) in Burgos and funded by Castilla y León Innovation Agency, Financing and Business Internationalization.

By quantifying greenhouse gas emissions from inland aquaculture, the project analysed the carbon footprint of hatchery-reared rainbow trout resulting from different feeds, evaluating their contribution to the value chain and identifying sustainable measures for fish farmers and feed producers.

A Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) of trout quantified “cradle to grave” resource “inputs” such as energy, mass, raw materials, economic value, transport and “outputs” of wastes and emissions, from trout egg production and fry rearing, fattening to slaughter, processing into final product to disposal.

It found rainbow trout feed responsible for 80 percent of trout’s carbon footprint, a key factor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the final product. Between 95 to 99 percent of the carbon footprint originates in raw materials associated with changes in land use, especially soy and bean production.

Working with Doctor Yolanda Nuñez, CTME Director Raúl de Saja explained: “LCA quantifies environmental impacts through industry standards ISO 14040 and ISO 14044. Taking into account changes in land use, results showed a carbon footprint of 4.81 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per kilogram of live trout and 5.07 kilograms of CO2e per kilogram of processed trout. Farmed trout is better placed in terms of emissions than animal products such as beef (18 kg of CO2e/kg), pork (14 kg of CO2e/kg) or chicken (about 8 kg of CO2e/kg).”

We all know the saying that “one swallow does not make a summer”, and this report is just one of many that relates to the relative environmental impacts of different farming and husbandry systems.  However, BTA are pleased to see that greater emphasis is now being placed on the total environmental impact of fish farming, relative to other issues such as total resource use – especially when such research demonstrates we are proven to have a lesser total impact than other proteins.

Trout and the Sustainability Agenda

“Sustainability” is a word that is seemingly everywhere these days, and fisheries and aquaculture are no exception.  We are all familiar with media articles questioning how sustainable our fish stocks are, whilst from a fish farming perspective, we are often asked about the sustainability of our products in terms of what they are fed on, along side environmental and social impacts.

This is a complex subject area – but it is one that BTA are very actively engaged in.  We are very lucky to have been funded through the Seafish Industry Fund to attend Seaweb‘s recent 10th International Seafood Summit

SeaWeb 10th International Seafood Summit

Such events go to show the global significance that is attached to sustainability. 

This very well attended event covered a wide range of fascinating topics, including; eco-labelling and certification, fisheries and ocean ecology, large scale environmental issues, aquaculture in the context of global protein production, the relationship between aquaculture and fisheries, SME Financing and the role of cooperatives, and retailers experiences of the sustainable seafood market and supply chain considerations.  You can find further information about both SeaWeb and the summit presentations and talks online.

Closer to home, we strive to work with NGO organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) who organise the Good Fish Guide.  We are proud that trout farmed in flow through sites are given the green light (recommended) choice whilst our open net pen product is amber lighted. 

MCS Good Fish Guide

BTA have an ongoing relationship with MCS to review the Good Fish Guide assessments.

At an international level, BTA, on behalf of the UK trout farming industry engage with the sustainability agenda in a variety of other ways.  We are currently involved with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), and through working on the WWF Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogues for over four years, we now have a seat on the ASC Technical Advisory Group to continue to represent our producers’ interests in the evolution of the ASC trout standard.

There are a wide variety of certification schemes and lobby groups campaigning on the environmental issues relating to aquaculture, but at BTA we take a policy that it is important to get involved and work with all those involved for all our mutual benefit.

If YOU have any questions about how trout farming fits into the aquaculture and fisheries sustainability agenda, then please get in touch with the BTA; we’d be happy to help answer your questions and provide all the information we can.