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An AIS-based approach to calculate atmospheric emissions from the UK fishing fleet

Coello, Jonathan, Williams, Ian, Hudson, Dominic A., Kemp, Simon
Atmospheric environment 2015 v.114 pp. 1-7
atmospheric chemistry, carbon dioxide, dredging, emissions, fisheries, fishing boats, fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, inventories, pollutants, shipping, United Kingdom
The fishing industry is heavily reliant on the use of fossil fuel and emits large quantities of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric pollutants. Methods used to calculate fishing vessel emissions inventories have traditionally utilised estimates of fuel efficiency per unit of catch. These methods have weaknesses because they do not easily allow temporal and geographical allocation of emissions. A large proportion of fishing and other small commercial vessels are also omitted from global shipping emissions inventories such as the International Maritime Organisation's Greenhouse Gas Studies. This paper demonstrates an activity-based methodology for the production of temporally- and spatially-resolved emissions inventories using data produced by Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). The methodology addresses the issue of how to use AIS data for fleets where not all vessels use AIS technology and how to assign engine load when vessels are towing trawling or dredging gear. The results of this are compared to a fuel-based methodology using publicly available European Commission fisheries data on fuel efficiency and annual catch. The results show relatively good agreement between the two methodologies, with an estimate of 295.7 kilotons of fuel used and 914.4 kilotons of carbon dioxide emitted between May 2012 and May 2013 using the activity-based methodology. Different methods of calculating speed using AIS data are also compared. The results indicate that using the speed data contained directly in the AIS data is preferable to calculating speed from the distance and time interval between consecutive AIS data points.