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Norwegian ferries to run on dead fish

It's a good thing global fish stocks aren't in peril…

From spinning sails to hybrid ferries, TreeHugger has covered a fair few solutions to maritime emissions over the years.

But this latest one might be new to me.

CNN reports that Norwegian cruise line operator Hurtigruten—which operates several routes in Norway's stunningly beautiful fjords—plans to be running at least six of its ships on dead fish by 2021. Actually, while it might make for a click-bait worthy headline and an admittedly snarky subhead, that's not entirely accurate. The company is actually planning to run the ships on a mixture of biogas (produced fish-processing scraps), liquified natural gas and battery electric power.

And that's probably a good thing. While biogas is almost certainly a cleaner alternative than high-sulfur bunker fuel, I'd be concerned about an over-reliance on fish-based biofuels, given the precarious nature of global fish stocks. But a combination approach seems like a sensible short-term strategy on route to the company's ultimate goal of becoming completely emission free. (The company is also ordering new hybrid cruise liners and banning single-use plastics.)

Also worth noting is the fact of where this progress is happening, and why that matters. Alongside the impact that dirty shipping fuel has on ocean acidification, it also produces a lot of soot (aka ‘black carbon'), which can worsen ice melt in the frozen North by reducing the Earth's albedo effect. Given the relatively short-lived nature of black carbon in our atmosphere compared to carbon emissions or methane, efforts to reduce it should pay off more quickly in terms of benefits for slowing down the impacts of climate change.

It's a good thing global fish stocks aren't in peril…