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Baltic Blue Growth – Examples of two Danish business plans for production of environmental mussels

The Baltic Sea experiences a high nutrient load, specifically of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), mainly from the surrounding land. A continuous high nutrient load cause eutrophication, ultimately meaning the perish of many important marine ecosystems, let alone businesses dependent on products from the sea.

The Baltic Sea experiences a high nutrient load, specifically of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P), mainly from the surrounding land. A continuous high nutrient load cause eutrophication, ultimately meaning the perish of many important marine ecosystems, let alone businesses dependent on products from the sea.

Healthy marine environments are a great resource of food and other biomasses. However, for the past few decades, a continuous decline in marine fish species has been detected, especially of the popular edible species, due to overnutrification and overfishing. This phenomenon has induced an explosive increase in aquaculture, mainly consisting of fish farms, to meet the increasingly high demand on seafood products without endangering the conservation of specific species any further. The current, high number of fish farms has alleviated the fishing problem in some areas, where the most fished species are now able to maintain healthy population numbers. EU advocated in a communication in April 2013 for an increased European Fish Farming, and where protein can be found in other animal productions, fish production is the most climate and environmentally effective method. However, the increase in offshore fish farming leads to an increased nutrient load to the marine environment, further enhancing the effects on the marine environment. With a growing demand on marine products, it is important to uphold this increasing production, but with a current and future focus on solutions for accumulating and removing nutrients from the water bodies.

With the EU Water Frame Directive, all EU members have an obligation to work towards Good Ecological Condition in all water bodies, including the Baltic Sea. Mussels are efficient nutrient accumulators, and thus, several projects have been put in to motion to test whether cultivation of blue mussels may alleviate the general issue with overnutrification and oxygen depletion in water bodies. Furthermore, Denmark has implemented the Baltic Action Plan in the official ocean strategy, which sets goals for reduction and emission of N and P.

Upholding law associated with the WFD will vary between countries, as it is up to the individual country to form plans that will bring the directive to life within the countries’ existing laws. In Denmark, the responsibility lies within the municipality, and it is up to this governmental body to ensure that quotas are kept. If the commune registers a problem with overnutrification of a public water body, they may choose to send forth a tender, which enables different companies to fulfill the task of removing the required amount of nutrients. This is one constellation for achieving the goals from the WFD and Danish water plans. However, all nutrient loading industries are required to minimize nutrient load to water bodies, but are in some cases given an option of compensating for such affairs – in the examples described in this report, mussels are used for nutrient accumulation and removal from fish farming.

In the following, an example of business construction from both scenarios is included, where the municipality example explains the lawful body’s search for business creation to meet the WFD goals, and the company forms mussel business simply to allow further production of main product and development.

Read the full publication here.

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