Thursday, 16 May 2019 13:57

Farming blue mussels to combat eutrophication and contribute to Blue Growth opportunities

Written by  Sanni Turunen, Policy Area Nutri Coordinator

EUSBSR Flagship project ‘Baltic Blue Growth’ has implemented several pilot mussel farms in the Baltic Sea and explored under which biological and financial conditions mussel farming is possible.


As a result, three operational farms have been established and over 100 tons of blue mussels harvested in the Baltic Proper in 2018. The mussels have been sent for e.g. to a biogas plant and as fertilizer to local farmers.


It was demonstrated that blue mussels can be processed into high quality protein meal

The project has explored various legal, regulatory and environmental challenges for mussel farming in the Baltic Sea, including harsh weather conditions, low salinity levels and predators. Potential uses for the harvested mussels and their role in closing the nutrient loop have been investigated. It was demonstrated that blue mussels can be processed into high quality protein meal; a good substitute to soybean or fishmeal that are traditionally used for feed. The harvested mussels were also shown to contain  high quality marine fatty acids, including omega-3, without contamination from common pollutants such as dioxine or heavy metals. Read more about the feed market potential in here.


Mussel farming can be seen as a sustainable way of removing excess nutrients

The project showed that large-scale mussel farming in the Baltic proper is possible, despite the lower salinity levels, which tend to make mussels grow slower. Locations with well-oxygenated sediments are most ideal for the farms. In those sites where environmental conditions support high production of mussels, the mussel farming can be seen as a sustainable way of removing excess nutrients. The overall environmental impact of mussel farms may differ between sites and change over time during the production cycle.


To raise awareness on the benefits and opportunities of Baltic mussel production and use, a conference was organized on 24 April in Malmö, Sweden. It brought together experts from across the Baltic Sea region representing academia, private companies, public authorities and NGOs. You can find the conference materials here.


Photo by Lena Tasse, Region Östergötland


‘Baltic Blue Growth’ is financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme and is led by Region Östergötland, Sweden, and implemented with partners from Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Sweden. It is a flagship of EUSBSR PA Nutri, which aims at investigating cost-efficient nutrient reduction mechanisms to combat eutrophication of the Baltic Sea.


Read 914 times Last modified on Friday, 17 May 2019 10:05

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