Production factors mussel farming Eastern Scheldt

For the project PROFMOS, an acronym of Production factors Mussel culture Oosterschelde [Eastern Scheldt]’, research is conducted on cultivation of mussels in the Eastern Scheldt. Currently, the majority of relatively scarce mussel seed that is sowed on the bottom is lost  due to predation and natural influences. The mussel seed is eaten by crabs or starfish or it is washed away by the current. Mussel farmers would like to know which factors determine the profitability of mussels on their bottom plots and which cultivation measures they can take to increase the profitability of their production.

This is investigated by examining the factors that influence the growth and survival of mussels and to explore which cultivation measures have an effect on the musselplots in the Eastern Scheldt. In addition, the rope culture (cultivation in a water column) at the artificial island of Neeltje Jans is analysed and a production models are developed to give farmers more insight. The latter is done in collaboration with knowledge partner IMARES.

Mussel farmers
The shellfish industry is closely involved in this project and invests in the research. From the start, mussel farmers have been involved with the design of the research and they have generated ideas that have been translated into experiments. Mussel famers provide samples for these experiments. Next, students and teaching researchers conduct the experiments.

Education
Not only SMEs benefit from this research. The knowledge that is obtained will be used in the educational programme of Delta Academy. Moreover, the project allows students to participate in a long-term project and short experiments. Students will gain research skills from different perspectives and stages. They are involved in field experiments, lab experiments, literature studies and the development of models. They will also learn how to analyse and report data.

European Aquaculture Rotterdam
Researcher Jacob Capelle presented this study during the European Aquaculture Rotterdam conference, during which he told that profits could certainly be made if cultivation becomes more profitable. There is great potential with regard to sowing. With regard to the survival rate, it is important that mussel seed or juvenile mussels are spread out homogenously on the mussel beds.

Publications

Research group Aquaculture in Delta Areas coordinates this project. This project is made possible by the financial support from the Centre of Expertise Delta Technology. The project started on 1 September 2013 and will run until January 2017.

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