Project 2.1: Evaluating strategies to reduce energy dependence and greenhouse gas emissions from Canadian fisheries

Fisheries are highly dependent on fossil fuel combustion, and this reliance presents both economic and environmental challenges. The 2008 spike in oil prices rendered some previously viable fisheries uneconomic and makes the potential return of high prices deeply problematic for many Canadian fisheries and fishing communities. In response, there is renewed interest in fuel saving technologies and strategies throughout many parts of the Canadian industry and a number of projects have been initiated by various provincial governments to address the increased threat of high fuel prices. In addition, global concern continues to grow regarding the probable impacts of increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and in particular those impacts that directly or indirectly undermine aquatic productivity (e.g. ocean acidification, warming, etc.).


Although the general topic of energy use has been a concern within the fishing sector at various times over the last 40 years it is progressively gaining social significance. In parallel with the rise of the sustainable seafood movement, there is increased consumer and large retailer interest in understanding and reducing the carbon footprint associated with fishing and associated seafood supply chains along with all other foods. It appears inevitable that the fishing industry will be increasingly challenged to account for and demonstrate responsibility toward their use of fossil fuels. A proactive strategy will be necessary to effectively respond to this challenge in order to achieve social approval and acceptance. Importantly, evidence suggests that many fisheries appear well placed to compete on the basis of their energy and carbon intensity, particularly when compared to some of the major terrestrial livestock production systems.


A diverse group of individuals within the fishing industry, academia and government were convened to elicit interest in and perspectives on research priorities to address energy use in Canadian fisheries. Discussion focused on the following three objectives:


  1. To determine the current state of knowledge regarding energy use in Canadian fisheries
  2. To identify priorities for research related to energy use in Canadian fisheries in general
  3. To consider ways in which the Network can uniquely address these issues.

The project team is working to further develop research projects in the coming weeks.


Project Leader Contact Information:

Peter Tyedmers
School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University


Project Team:

  • Bob Grant - T Buck Suzuki Foundation
  • Brian Johnson-Newfoundland Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture & Canadian Centre of Fisheries Innovation
  • Bruce Osborne - Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Claude d’Entremont - Inshore Fisheries Ltd.
  • Damien Grelon - Merinov, Centre d’Innovation de l’Aquaculture et des Pêches du Québec
  • Dany Jabbour - Clearwater Seafoods Limited
  • Daryl McIvor - Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU)
  • Donat McGraw - New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries
  • Jean Lanteigne - Fédération Régionale Acadienne des Pêcheurs Professionnels (FRAPP)
  • Jeff Simms - Newfoundland Resources Ltd.
  • Lewis Clancey - Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Paul Winger - Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Rashid Sumaila - University of British Columbia
  • Rick Ellis - Ocean Choice International
  • Robert Stephenson - University of New Brunswick/Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station
  • Ron Heighton - Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board (GNSFPB)
  • Rory McLelland - PEI Shellfish Association
  • Ruth Inniss - Maritime Fishermen’s Union (MFU)
  • Shaun Allain - Fishermen and Scientists Research Society
  • Sheena Young - Fundy North Fisherman’s Association (FNFA)
  • Stacey Paul - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St. Andrews Biological Station
  • Vern Shea - Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Wayne Matheson - Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture