A comparison of environmental and economic sustainability across seafood and livestock product value chains

Ireland has set ambitious economic growth targets for the agri-food sector up to 2025 and beyond, with sustainability being an important consideration in the national development strategies (Food Wise 2025 and Harnessing our Ocean Wealth – An Integrated Marine Plan). Although Ireland has achieved a prominent position in global agri-food trade as one of the biggest net exporters of beef, sheep meat, and dairy products, seafood has the potential to make a further contribution to exports and job creation by increasing aquaculture production. However, any expansion in the agri-food sectors must be carried out in accordance to environmental regulations, and Ireland’s commitments to achieve a 30% reduction in emissions compared to 2005 levels by 2030 and carbon neutrality in the agriculture and land use sector by 2050. This study quantifies and compares the economic and environmental impacts across seafood (sea fisheries and aquaculture) and terrestrial livestock products (beef and veal, sheep, pig, poultry, dairy), by using an environmentally extended input-output model of the Irish economy and national data.

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