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Analysis of energy and water use in USA farmed catfish: Toward a more resilient and sustainable production system

TitleAnalysis of energy and water use in USA farmed catfish: Toward a more resilient and sustainable production system
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsViglia, Silvio, Brown M.T., Love D.C., Fry J.P., Scroggins R., and Neff R.A.
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Keywordsaquaculture, Catfish, crop production, Crops, Cultivation, Energy, Energy demands, energy use, Energy utilization, Lakes, life cycle, life cycle analysis, Mixed-methods research, Production system, Sustainable development, Sustainable production, water use

Catfish is the largest aquaculture sector in the U.S., and there is no peer-reviewed lifecycle analysis characterizing the sector's environmental footprint. This study estimates energy and water demand per kg of catfish, based on analysis of primary data collected from businesses involved in catfish farming, hatcheries, feed mills, and processing. Further, it describes business operator perceptions of potential strategies to reduce usage. We found that direct energy inputs accounted for 49% of energy usage, while feed production, especially crop production to produce feed ingredients, comprised 39% and indirect inputs comprised 12% of usage. The largest direct energy demand came from pond aeration. Among water uses, direct water inputs, particularly for filling ponds after evaporation and harvesting, comprised the largest share (59%). Water for feed production comprised another 40%. Interviewees discussed current and potential strategies to reduce energy and water use, including automatic aerators with sensors, improved equipment, rainwater capture, and alternative harvesting practices. Shifts in crop production could also reduce catfish embodied resources. Incentives to offset costs would increase adoption. In sum, this study provides the most comprehensive exploration to date of the energy and water footprint of the largest U.S. aquaculture sector and identifies multiple opportunities that could improve the industry's resource use. © 2022 Elsevier Ltd


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Citation KeyViglia2022