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Baltic Blue Growth – How to turn EcoSystem Payments to Baltic Mussel Farms into reality?

This report explores how mussel farmers can receive payments for the provision of these ecosystem services.

Despite efforts to improve water quality, the Baltic Sea remains one of the most eutrophic waters in the world. To reach the goal of good environmental status, more incentives for reducing nutrient inflow and uptake are needed. Most efforts so far focus on reducing nutrient inflow by using landbased measures. – A complementary measure suggested by the BBG project is the use of mussel farming to remove excess nutrients from the Baltic Sea as mussels by nature filter considerable quantities of water extracting nutrients and hazardous substances. Mussel farming is currently the only well researched possible way of extracting nutrients from the water body. Moreover – as shown by a multitude of studies – mussels perform also other important ecological functions, which generate or contribute to a variety of ecosystem services (ES) such as supporting services (e.g. nutrient recycling, habitats); regulating services (e.g. water purification); provisioning as well as cultural services (e.g. food and tools for jewellery).

From an analysis of the existing legislative framework it can be concluded that all frameworks related to the Baltic Sea region allow for mussel farming, as long as mussel farms support the objectives under the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and contribute or at least do not impede on the achievement of good environmental status as promoted by the Marine Framework Strategy Directive (MFSD) as well as the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan. However, the regulatory frameworks are rather guidelines with general goals and targets. The implementation of those targets is matter of the nation states or regions. Concrete measures and especially payment schemes are not yet existent.

Read the full publication here.

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