Drivers of Fuel Use in Rock Lobster Fisheries

R. Parker, C. Gardner, B. S. Green, K. Hartmann, R. A. Watson, (2017). ICES Journal of Marine Science

energy, fisheries, fuel, greenhouse gas emissions, lobster.


Fuel consumption is a leading cost to fishers and the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions from the global fishing industry. Fuel performance varies substantially between and within fisheries, but the drivers behind this variation are unclear and inconsistent across studies. We surveyed rock lobster fishers in Australia and New Zealand to measure rates of fuel use and assess the influence of technological (e.g. vessel size, engine power), behavioural (e.g. distance travelled, speed), and managerial (e.g. catch per unit effort, fishery capacity) factors. Weighted fuel use intensity across the region was 1,890 l/t. Managerial factors were the most influential drivers of fuel use in single day trips while technological factors heavily influenced multi-day trips. Catch per unit effort was the only significant driver present across both types of fishing trips. The vast majority of surveyed fishers identified fuel use as an important aspect of fishing operations, and nearly half had already implemented changes to try to reduce consumption. Our results suggest that efforts to reduce fuel consumption, costs, and emissions in fisheries need to be tailored to the nature of individual fisheries, as the relative roles of technology, behaviour, and management vary.